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City of Vincennes, 


FROM 1702 TO 1901 



OCTOBER 15, 1901. 

Garfield Building, . . Cleveland, Ohio 

Copyright, 1902. 


Mooee & Langen Printing Co. 

teeee haute, ind. 


I propose to write a history of Vincennes, Indiana. This 
place is the oldest town within the limits of the State of In- 
diana. With the exception of Detroit, Michigan, which was 
settled by the French in 1670, and of Kaskaskia, Illinois, 
which was also settled by the French in 1673, it is the oldest 
town in that vast territorial expanse formerly known as ''The 
Territory Northwest of the Elver Ohio,"' out of which the five 
great States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wis- 
consin have been formed. 

In the preparation of the history I will gather material 
from authentic and reliable sources. Of course some data 
which I will use have already found their way into print and 
are now part of the general history of the country. In addi- 
tion thereto I will consult and be aided by many manuscript 
documents by learned and truthful men which have never as 
yet been published. I will also obtain valuable information 
from the writings of Bishop Brute, the first Catholic Bishop 
of Yincennes, from the files of the Western Sun newspaper 
embracing the y ears 1807 to 1845, the records of St. Francis 
Xavier Cathedral, reaching from April, 1719, to the present, 
and will trust reliable and well authenticated traditions, and 
also matters within my own personal knowledge with a re- 
ceptive and retentive memory covering a period of at least 
sixty-six years. 

I will endeavor to make the recital both pleasing and inter- 
esting to the reader, and hope to contribute some historic 
matter concerning the place and its antecedents which have 
never yet been accessible to the general reader. And above all 
will endeavor to make the presentation of facts and incidents 
both truthful and reliable. 


Vincennes, October 15, 1901. 


1. Location 11 

2. Topography 15 

3. Environments 19 

4. Landmarks . 24 

5. The Old Fort 32 

6. Creole Customs 40 

7. Courts 46 

8. Municipal 51 

9. Police 54 

10. Newspapers 57 

11. Antiquities (13 

12. Clark's Kaskaskia Campaign 79 

13. Clark's St. Vincents Campaign 90 

14. Fire Protection 110 

15. Religion 114 

16. Finance . 131 

17. Corporations 135 

18. Agriculture 139 

19. Commerce 144 

20. Fraternities 148 

21. Education 152 

22. Manufactures 157 

23. Material Progress 161 

24 Personal Mention 167 

25. Distinguished Personnel 170 

26. Partial List of Prominent Citizens Subsequent to 1800 . . 215 

27. Conclusion 219 



City Hall Frontispiece 

Harrison House In Chapter IV 

Old Fort In Chapter V 

Court House • ... In Chapter VII 

Old Catholic Church In Chapter XI 

Churches In Notices in Chapter XV 

Individual Pictures In Notices in Chapter XXV 



Vincennes is situated on the east bank of the Wabash River 
150 miles above its junction with the Ohio. It is distant 192 
miles west of Cincinnati, Ohio; 151 miles east of St. Louis, 
Missouri; 236 miles south of Chicago, Illinois; 51 miles north 
of the Ohio River at Evansville, and 117 miles southwest of 
Indianapolis, the capital of the State of Indiana. 

The United States Government in 1883 made an accurate 
geodetic survey of the United States. Vincennes was se- 
lected as one of the stations for observation. The station herb- 
was located near the geographical centre of the town in the 
Court House yard off the northeast side of the Court House 
and is marked by three stones set in concrete, the centre one 
nearly flush with the surface and bearing an "X" mark. Lat- 
itude of the station point, 38° 40' 39". Longitude west of 
Greenwich, 5 h, 50 min, .0888 sec, or 87° 31' 28". 

It is situated on high grounds beyond the possible reach of 
inundation and is bounded on the northeast and southwest 
by beautiful and fertile prairies, and on the southeast by a 
picturesque range of hills covered in part by forest trees and 
presenting from the city an attractive and pleasing landscape 

The location is peculiarly fortunate and safe, occupying as 
it does a level depression surrounded on most sides by elevated 
grounds and hills which protect it from the chiliv blasts of 
winter and the destructive storms of summer so prevalent and 

12 A History op Vincennes. 

desolating in portions of the west. The surrounding hills 
operate as a bulwark to divert and elevate the course of pass- 
ing winds and thus shield and protect it from their fury, so 
that during the long period of time the site has been the home 
of civilization no occasion for alarm has been furnished and 
not the least damage has been clone to life or property within 
its limits on this account. It has numbered among: its struc- 
tures, steeples and towers insecurely anchored, but which 
stood for years unharmed and until removed by design. 

Vincennes in early times was a fine field for sportsmen. As 
late as 1852 the quail in the fall of the year invaded the town 
and as many as desired could be killed without leaving its 
corporate limits. And during the same time prairie chickens* 
were so numerous that as many as sufficient to satisfy the 
most grasping sportsman could be killed in its immediate 

There are on the southeast side of the city three beautiful 
mounds, the most noted and picturesque evidences of the 
work of the mound builders to be found anywhere. These 
mounds overlook and are in full view from the city. The.} 
add much to the physical appearance and beauty of the loca- 
tion, and are in fact a handsome background, and from their 
summits the best view of the city can be obtained. And when 
viewed from their heights, the city, located as it is upon a 
level plain, and the streets on either side ornamented with 
shade trees, appears to advantage and seems as if located in 
one large, unbroken forest. 

There is a fiction connected with these mounds that Gen. 
Clark, when he approached the place in February, 1779, 
marched his troops around one of them in a circle many times 
to impress the inhabitants with the magnitude of his force. 
No such performance ever took place. Gen. Clark says in his 
account that he did not wish to surprise the people. He met 
two Frenchmen of the village when he was at Warrior's Is- 

Locality. 13 

land, two miles below the place, and by them sent a message 
to the inhabitants of the town to the effect that he did not 
wish to surprise them, and warning all who were friendly to 
the "hair buyer" general, as he called Hamilton, to join him 
in the fort. Warrior's Island in the prairie two miles below 
Vincennes was in full view of the town and his force could 
be seen and numbered there, and any such performance as 
marching around one of the mounds to create a false impres- 
sion of his force would have been detected and inspired merit- 
ed contempt and disgust. This alleged performance may be 
credited to many others designed to magnify the exploits of 
Clark and invest them with colors of romance akin to the 
deeds of chivalry. Gen. Clark himself says in his report 
that when he sent his message to the inhabitants of the town 
by the two Frenchmen from Warrior's Island that he knew 
that the French inhabitants were friendly to him, as was also 
"'"'Tobacco's Son," the most powerful Indian chief in the coun- 
try. It seems cruel to spoil this romantic story, but regard 
for truth compels it to be done. 

The streets of the city are all level and graded with gravel 
containing a co-hesive substance which when first taken from 
its bed is of a dull red color, but upon exposure to the air soon 
cements and makes a hard and substantial road bed, and also 
bleaches and presents a bright and shining appearance, and 
gives the city streets the appearance of threads of silver wind- 
ing through shaded avenues. 

The sidewalks are as level as a sheet of paper, and when 
improved with granitoid, of which many miles have already 
been constructed, and many more miles are being added each 
year, gives the city sidewalks that cannot be surpassed any- 
where, and but rarely equaled. 

The site of Vincennes has always -been admired and praised 
by all travellers, who ever visited the place. Count Volney in 
his account of his travels refers to it as a garden spot remind- 

14 A History of Vincennes. 

ing Mm of some of the vine-clad provinces of France. It was 
in 1796 that he visited, the place, and he says the village on 
all sides was surrounded by the most luxurious vineyards from 
which abundance of the purest wines were made by the 
villagers, and that the prairies adjoining the village were cov- 
ered with the finest fruit orchards he ever saw. This condi- 
tion as to the fruit orchards continued in the lower prairies 
until within the memory of men still living. But the vine- 
yards and orchards have now disappeared and their places 
have been given up to the cultivation of wheat and corn. Mr. 
Scott, in a gazetteer, published in 1793, says that a pleasant 
wine was made here of old. 

In 1765 Col. Croghan came here to treat with the Miami 
and Illinois tribes. In his report he praised Post Vincennes 
as "one of the finest situations that can be found." He praised 
the soil as very rich, "producing wheat and tobacco, and that 
the tobacco raised here is preferable and superior to that of 
Maryland and Virginia, and that Post Vincennes is a place 
of great importance for trade." 

William H. English, when he first visited the place in 1891, 
thus speaks of it in his history of the Northwest: 

"In addition to its early settlement and the multitude of 
interesting incidents connected with its history, its location 
and surroundings are so attractive that one can readily under- 
stand why it was a favorite of the Indians in the earliest 
times, and subsequently of the French and others of the white 
race. There are few places where life at all periods has been 
more thoroughly and philosophically enjoyed than at the 
'Old Post' St. Vincents, the modern city of Vincennes." 

Topography. 15 


The topographical situation and site upon which the city 
of Yincennes stands is remarkable and worthy of attention. 
The area it occupies may be called a gravel bank extending 
from the surface to the water line below. No point in this 
area has been pierced and penetrated where this gravel form- 
ation has not been exposed. In 1880 the city authorities ex- 
cavated on Busseron street between Second and Third streets, 
for a cistern for the use of the fire department. It was exca- 
vated to the water line below and gravel and sand were only 
found in the progress of the work. At a considerable depth 
below the surface a large isolated lump of coal was found im- 
bedded in gravel both above and below. 

The conformation of the surrounding hills indicate that m 
the remote past they were the restraining barriers of volumes 
of water either in a flowing stream or confined lake. Every- 
thing around the site of a natural formation indicates the 
former presence and active agency of water which has been 
expelled from the surface and the site of the city elevated by 
some mighty upheaval. A similar but gradual and quiet 
process has been observable since the advent of civilized men. 
In 1804, and for many years after the village was annually 
surrounded by water and the pirogues, as they were called, 
used by the early French settlers, circumnavigated the village 
at flood seasons and unloaded their cargoes in the rear of the 
high ground upon which the Court House stands. 

As late as 1836 the topographical appearance of the place 
was unique. The river front at Hart street was called the 
stone landing. From that point abruptly rose and extended 

16 A History of Vincennes. 

along the entire river front to the prairie below, a pure gravel 
hill fifteen or twenty-five feet in height above the present level 
of the city streets. It presented an abrupt face to the river 
but gradually sloped in the direction of First street. This 
gravel hill has been removed by the city authorities to grade 
streets and fill depressions in other parts of the city. Between 
this gravel hill and the elevated ground upon which the 
Court House stands the village was originally located and 
mostly below Broadway street. This space in many places was 
unfit for occupation owing to the presence of ponds and sur- 
face water. From a point near the intersection of Perry and 
Fifth streets, running diagonally through the town in the 
direction of the public cemetery, the ground was low and 
little better than a pond, and was covered by water most of 
the year. Immediately beyond the high ground upon which 
the Court House stands was an immense pond called "Dinah's 
pond," having a depth of several feet, and which was sus- 
tained to a considerable depth throughout the year. 

The first road leading from Vincennes to the east in the 
direction of Louisville, Kentucky, was by way of Petersburg- 
over what was called the ''Buffalo trace," so-called as stated 
by old residents who had travelled over it from the fact that 
it had been originally traced through the intervening forest 
by the immense herds of buffalo that passed over it in their 
annual migrations back and forth from the blue grass re- 
gions of Kentucky. They crossed the Kentucky Eiver at the 
"great crossings" in Scott county, the Ohio Eiver at the falls 
at Louisville, and the Wabash at the ford just below this 
place, and thence to the rich prairie lands of Illinois beyond. 
This "buffalo trace" was the only and usual route of travel 
from Vincennes to the east for many jea,rs, after 1S04. 

As late as 1846 the road to Louisville passed out of town 
on the southeast and thence to what is now called "Burnet 
heights," and over what was then in its course an impassible 



swamp the road itself being an artificial construction called 
"Corduroy/' and animals running at large would mire any- 
where outside the roadway itself. 

The land on the southeast side of the town as far as the 
high land beyond was covered with scrub oak bushes that 
never attained a height greater than ten feet. 

The town at first huddled and centered around the present 
locality of the Catholic Church. The old fort built by Fran- 
cois Morgan cle Vincenne in 1702, was located on the river 
between what is now the Catholic Church square and the 
river, and between Barnet and Yigo streets. The main en- 
trance to the fort was on what is now Church street. The 
following diagram will give a better idea of the location of the 
old fort than any mere description. 


■UM«Mafi l tf*i«i|tfMi.M.<*tJMdM 

AVabash River. 

'^V D "',?»V,t a ^ 




1 j 


| 1 


Calvery Street 






Catholic Cemetery and 

Catholic Church Square 


Around these two places, the church and the fort as a 
nucleus, the town gathered and sprung up. The hotel of 
Mark Barnet, long the principal one, was on the river below 

18 A History op Vixcexxes. 

Barnet street, and that of Peter Jones, of a much later date, 
was also on the river below' Broadway street where Jordan's 
elevator now stands. The space between these points, and 
extending" a short distance back from the river, was all the 
space occupied by the town. On the northeast side of the 
town above Broadway street was located the Piankeshaw vil- 
lage and fields, and their Council House stood on the high 
gravel hill where the B. & 0. S. W. B. B. freight depot now 
stands. This high hill was for many years, and as late as 
1850, selected for raising the liberty pole and firing the can- 
non on the Fourth of July, which was always observed with 
the annual return of that day until Philander Fellows was 
killed there by a premature explosion. 

There has been expressed by some of late years a doubt as 
to the location of the old fort. But the doubt thus expressed 
js not founded upon any authentic or reliable information. 
The location of the fort as given above is sustained by all 
authentic evidence and was always called by the old residents 
of the place "The Old Block House Lot." The plot of ground 
was only subdivided and sold in parcels as now held as late as 
1839. Its location, as stated above, is consistent with all his- 
toric references to it, and the happening of known events con- 
nected with it, and there is no evidence of its location else- 
. where. 

According to the report of the State Geologist, Vincennes 
is situated in one of the richest coal districts in the west. The 
town itself is built upon coal deposits. The surface within 
the limits of the city has been pierced in several places and 
veins of coal have always been found, one layer below the first, 
and of a superior quality, which will in the future be worked 
with profit. A coal shaft has been sunk on the east outskirts 
of the city and superior coal is taken out and has been suc- 
cessfully and profitably operated for several years, and fur- 
nishes the cheapest coal used in the city. 

Environments. 19 



The country surrounding Vincennes gives the town a loca- 
tion unsurpassed for beauty. It was originally situated be- 
tween two handsome prairies one above and the other below. 
The upper prairie extended about two miles from the limits 
of the town to Prairie Creek on the north. But this beautiful 
prairie has been encroached upon by the expansion of the city. 
Within the past two years it has been covered with manufact- 
uring plants, business houses and dwellings and with the 
same process continued for a year or two longer it will pre- 
sent a city appearance. But the two prairies below the town 
remain as they were when the town was settled. They are 
beautiful and fertile prairies extending from the lower limits 
of the city some six miles below. The land was originally 
granted to the early French settlers by the commandants of 
the fort. These prairie lands as well as the lots granted in 
the village were designated upon small slips of paper and no 
record kept or made of any of the grants so far as known. 
The titles of the French settlers and claimants rested wholly 
upon actual possession and occupancy. And the transfer of 
lots in the village and prairie lands from one to another was 
made without documentary or written evidence of transfer, 
but simply by changing possession and occupancy in the same 
way personal property changed hands. This custom and 
transfer of real property without any written evidence of 
transfer gave the commissioners appointed by the United 
States to examine and report upon the claims of the French to 
lots and lands much trouble and compelled them to rely upon 

20 A History of Vinceknes. 

verbal testimony in such cases. The lots in the village were 
not numbered ; but only identified as adjoining lots of other 
persons. The same disposition of lands was made in the 
lower and Cathlinette prairies, which adjoin each other in 
the same imperfect manner and evidenced by descriptions on 
small slips of paper of which no record was made. The grants 
in the two prairies below Vincennes except the first granted 
the church, which contains four arpents, all contain two 
arpents in front by forty arpents in depth, French measure. 
A French arpent is a little less than an English acre. The 
grants in the lower prairie were thus divided in small slips 
so that each proprietor could have a frontage on the Wabash 
river. The grants in the prairies were not numbered and in 
transferring them long after deeds were in use, were simply 
described as bonded by lands of different owners. These 
prairie lands were afterwards surveyed by the United States 
government, after it acquired the territory, and numbered. The 
lower prairie containing by the survey 52 tracts and the Cath- 
linette prairie 18 tracts. But for years after the survey and 
numbering of the lands in the two prairies in all deeds, the 
same defective mode of conveyance was continued, causing 
much confusion. The lands in the two prairies below Vin- 
cennes were never enclosed by the French. They were culti- 
vated by the owners in a common field. They all lived in the 
town, French fashion, and went out to the fields each day to 
cultivate the lands. A turning row was allowed for between 
each grant to enable the adjoining owners to cultivate their 
respective portions without trespassing on his neighbor in 
turning his team. These prairie lands and lots in the town 
in that part called "French Town,"" were originally, and as 
late as 1850, owned by the French people. But since that 
time they have changed hands and passed into the possession 
of other proprietors and but few lots or lands are now owned 
by the descendants of the original French proprietors. 

Environmeiits. 2L 

The lots in the village and the lands in the neighborhood 
were all granted by the commandants of the Post commenc- 
ing with Francois Morganne de Yincenne, the builder of the 
fort and first commandant, and all his successors. This is 
shown by the official report of the judges of the court, dated 
July 3d, 1790, to Winthrop Sargeant, the secretary of the 
Territory, in which they expressly state that Francois Mor- 
ganne de Yincenne was the builder of the fort and its first 
commandant. This report can be found in the American 
state papers and is authentic, and settles beyond question who 
built the Port. 

On the Illinois side of the Wabash adjoining Vincennes is 
the large and fertile "Allison'' prairie extending from the 
river back about eight miles and up and down the river about 
fifteen miles. This prairie is very rich and produces abund- 
ant crops of all kinds and throws upon the Vincennes market 
as large a. volume of produce almost as the County of Knox. 
It is thickly settled with an industrious population and adds 
much to the business and prosperity of Yincennes. 

By an act of Congress passed March 5, 1791, there was 
appropriated a large tract of land adjoining Yincennes con- 
taining about 5,000 acres for a commons, for the use of all 
the inhabitants of Yincennes. This tract of land was not 
enclosed but Avas used by all the inhabitants of the town for 
purposes of pasturing their stock of all kinds. This use of 
the commons continued until the commons lands were sold by 
the borough trustees from and after 1825. The inhabitants 
of the town in 1816 joined in a petition to Congress for au- 
thority to sell the commons lands. In accordance with this 
petition Congress on April 20, 1818, passed an act transferring 
the commons lands to the trustees of the borough of Yin- 
cennes in trust, however, for the purpose of selling the same, 
and with the proceeds of sales to drain a pond on the east of 
the town and to pay any balance remaining to the Vincennes 

22 A History of Vincennes. 

University. The trustees of the borough by an ordinance 
passed September 28, 1818, accepted the trust and proceeded 
to execute the same. The commons lands were surveyed and 
divided in three divisions, A, B and C divisions. A was di- 
vided into 138 lots of 5 acres each, division B was divided 
into 204 lots of 10 acres each and division C was divided into 
96 lots of twenty acres each. The lots in these three divisions 
were sold by the trustees of the borough at different times 
from and after 1825, and are now held by individual proprie- 
tors under the sales made by the trustees. But the pond ad- 
joining the city was not drained by the borough trustees and 
no part of the proceeds were paid to the Vincennes Univer- 

On the Illinois side of the Wabash Biver a chain of hills 
rise near the river and extend along its bank about three miles 
above and which add much to the scenery surrounding Vin- 
cennes. On the Indiana side of the river the picturesque hills 
on which Fort Knox was erected, rise from the water's edge 
and add much to the scenery in that locality. And these hills 
commencing at Fort Knox with slight interruptions extend 
continuously in a circle around Vincennes, terminating with 
Bunker Hill below the limits of the city. Upon these hills 
thus surrounding the city, on the east and south, beautiful 
sites for suburban residences are afforded which are being 
rapidly taken up by wealthy citizens and fine private resi- 
dences erected thereon. And on these hills on the east is 
erected the Knox County Poor Asylum, a fine brick structure. 
On what is usually called the "Highlands," a splendid struct- 
ure has been built, some three miles from the city, but in full 
view from all parts of it, for St. Vincent's Orphan Asylum. 

Vincennes has four magnificent parks in close proximity 
to the city. "Harrison Park" is situated in the city limits in 
North Vincennes and is finely shaded and provided with walks 
and seats for the convenience of visitors. "Fairview Park" 

Environments'. 23 

also well shaded and improved, near the limits of the city on 
the northeast. "Fairground Park," a little farther out, is also 
well shaded and has numerous buildings for the use and con- 
venience of visitors. "Harmonic Park," a half mile still 
farther out, is also well shaded and improved. All these 
parks can be reached by the cars of the electric railroad. In 
the summer they are daily resorted to by all parties for pic- 
nics, recreation or pleasure and no better places can be found 
in the vicinity of any city for the purpose of amusement and 
pleasure and escaping from the heat of the city. 

Yincennes is blessed with driveways in all directions around 
the city. And these afford any variety of route and scenery 
that may be desired. On one route the driver can pass over 
picturesque hills on a road well improved. On another he 
can pass over a road well graded and improved and as level 
as a floor. And on another he can pass oyer the most beauti- 
ful undulating country to be found anywhere. And on an- 
other, along a shaded road running by a running stream, 
which tends to moisten and cool the air. And on the other 
side of the Wabash he can drive either up or down the river 
on its banks, well shaded, and on a road as smooth as possible. 
And on any of the routes he may take he can drive for an 
evening airing a distance of ten miles through beautiful rural 
scenery and return to the city without passing twice over the 
same roadwav. 

24 A History op Vincennes. 



The first houses erected in Vincennes by the 
French settlers as well as those erected by their 
Creole descendants, were of timbers set upon end, 
thatched with straw and plastered with adobe. 
They were durable and lasting structures. Some such ho usee 
were known to have stood for upwards of a hundred yeat's, 
and were still in good preservation when torn down to give 
place to more modern structures. They even resisted much 
longer the destrojdng ravages of fire than frame houses. One 
of them caught fire in the early part of the night between the 
years 1840 and 1850, and after burning all night, with the aid 
of the volunteer fire department, was consumed as the sun 
was casting its first rays over the eastern horizon. They were 
comfortable residences, being warm in winter and cool in 
summer. The first church erected in this way for St. Francis 
Xavier was used for church purposes for about eighty years, 
and then for a pastoral residence many years afterwards. 
None of the structures now remain in Vincennes. 

The building occupied by the Territorial Government dur- 
ing the time Vincennes was the capitol of the Territory, was 
situated on the southwest side of Main street about miclwav 
between Second and Third streets. It was a two story frame 
building which about fifty years ago was removed to the 
southeast side of Upper Third street and located just below 
"Harrison" Park, where it yet stands in a good state of prefc- 

The upper prairie survey, now in part occupied by "Harri- 
son" Park, was covered over on the river front by many hand- 



some brick residences. These remained as late as 18-14, but 
have since entirely disappeared. The brick in these build- 
ings was used in the construction of brick buildings in var- 
ious parts of the city, and may be said to be the beginning of 
the erection of brick buildings in the city. The survey upon 
which these buildings stood on the failure of the Steam Mill 
Company was mortgaged to the United States for $100,000, 
and the title subject to the mortgage passed to Hall Neilson, 


of Washington City. The United States was subjected to a 
long litigation to establish its claim, which was not finaliy 
settled until 1880, when the government claim was finally 
quited. The Government then had the survey subdivided 
into lots and sold all the lots except that portion fronting on 
the river which was donated to the city for a public park, and 
is now known as "Harrison" Park. 

The Harrison mansion is the oldest building in Vincennes, 
and is truly an ancient landmark. Many fictitious stories 


A History of Vixcexxes. 

connected with the old mansion have been circulated. One- 
to the effect that there was a subterraneous passage leading 
from the mansion to the river as a means of escape in case of 
any hostile attack. No such passageway ever had any exist- 
ence. The mansion itself was the best protection in case of 
danger of any place in the vicinity. Another to the effect 
that in the basement there was a duno-eon in which slaves and 


others were confined. No dungeon was ever in the basement. 
These stories are akin to another that the huge boulder in the 
yard of the Eabb residence on Sixth street was the trystring 
place where Jefferson Davis and Jessie Taylor often met, 
Jessie Taylor left the place when an infant and never return- 
ed to it, and Jefferson Davis was never in Vincennes. 

The mansion was the centre of attraction during its occu- 
pation by Gen. Harrison, and long afterwards. When the 

Landmarks. 27 

general left in 1811, it was occupied by his son, John Cleves 
Symmes Harrison, who was as popular and as great a favorite 
with the people as his father. He was a cultured man. He 
married the daughter and only child of General Pike, who 
was equally cultured. The Vincennes Library was kept in the 
mansion during the time it was occupied by Symmes Harri- 
son, and it continued to be the resort of the elite and cultured 
of the place. When he left, a public banquet was tendered 
him by the citizens of the place, at which he delivered an ad- 
dress. In part, he said : "I had fondly hoped to spend my 
life here, but cruel fate has decreed otherwise. But rest as- 
sured I can never forget the place or the many friends I leave 
behind me." He died at his fathers home in North Bend on 
the Ohio Eiver, October 30, 1830, of typhoid fever. A fine 
obituary notice of his death was published in the Western 

After Symmes Harrison left, the mansion was occupied by 
Gen. James P. Drake, who was the receiver of public monies 
at this place, and kept his office there. Gen. Drake was one 
of the leading men of the State, and was afterwards elected 
Treasurer of State and removed to Indianapolis, where he 
died after 1850. 

After Gen. Drake left the mansion was greatly neglected 
and fell into the hands of men who appropriated it to im- 
proper use. Gen. John Myers, who lived near on Second 
street, used it for storing his wheat and corn. And after the 
completion of the railroad to St. Louis it was occupied by 
James Gattan as a hotel. But thanks to its durable construc- 
tion it exhibits no signs of misuse and is now as well pre- 
served and substantial as any building in Vincennes. 

It was at the Harrison mansion that the celebrated inter- 
view took place between Gen. Harrison and Chief Tecumseh. 
This interview is often referred to as a treaty. But it was no 
treaty and was not intended as such. It was called by Gen. 

28 A History of Vincenxes. 

Harrison for the sole purpose of a friendly exchange of greet- 
ings. Gen. Harrison aware of the intrigues and machination 
of that celebrated chief requested him to come and visit him 
and that he would assure him of the friendly good will of the 
government towards the Indian tribes. He was requested to 
come unarmed and assured he would receive kind and courte- 
ous tratment. He agreed to come and did come. But in- 
stead of coming unarmed he came with 70 armed warriors, 
who encamped for the night on Prairie creek, near the present 
residence of Mr. Kelso. Gen. Harrison, aware of his thus 
coming with an armed force, prepared to meet him in an in- 
terview on the following da,j, August 15, 1810. For precau- 
tion in case of necessity Gen. Harrison summoned a numbei 
of his friends, who were well armed and occupied places in 
the hallway and circular parlor of the mansion This inter- 
view was held on the southwest front of the mansion in a 
grove of trees that surrounded it on that side Some conflict- 
ing statements have been made as to where this interview took 
place. But there should be no doubt about it. Robert G. 
McClure and Elihu Stout and many others who were part of 
Gen. Harrison's guard at the time all stated that this inter- 
view was held in the grove in front of the porch on the south- 
west side of the mansion. Gen. Harrison never left the porch 
and Tecumseh refused to take a seat on it, but stood in the 
grove. Gen. Harrison proceeded to address Tecumseh and 
his warriors and to assure them of the friendly feeling and 
good wishes of the government towards the Indians, and was 
willing to do all possible to promote their comfort and happi- 
ness and preserve peace. Tecumseh, who understood English 
imperfectly, here interrupted the general and told the inter- 
preter to tell him he lied. The interpreter fearing if the ex- 
act language was given it would produce trouble modified it. 
But Tecumseh interrupted him and told him to state his exact 
language and to tell Gen. Harrison he lied when he said the 

Landmarks. 29 

government was friendly to the Indians, but had cheated 
them and stolen their lands. When this was communicated 
to the general he terminated the interview and Tecumseh and 
his warriors withdrew. This porch and the grove of trees 
that surrounded it where this interview was held remained 
until 1840. It was here the great mass meeting and barbecue 
was held during the exciting political campaign of "Tippe- 
canoe and Tyler too" in 1840. The meeting was composed of 
such numbers that four speakers of national reputation ad- 
dressed it at the. same time. The names of these four speak- 
ers were George G-. Dunn of Bedford, Richard W. Thompson 
of Terre Haute, George H. Profht of Petersburg and John 
Ewing of Vincennes. 

The grounds around the Harrison mansion, extending to 
the river, were artistically laid out and filled with the choicest 
fruits and flowers. It was in fact a thing of beauty and a joy 
and remained in good preservation as late as 1855. The river 
front and for 'some distance back was enclosed with a picket 
fence of locust timbers firmly planted in the ground. The 
square in front of the mansion, on laying out Harrison's addi- 
tion, was reserved for a park. The brick used in the construc- 
tion of the mansion were manufactured by Samuel Thomp- 
son, who received for this work 400 acres of land about three 
miles above the city on the Terre Haute road. 

The second brick building erected in Vincennes was the old 
seminary, which occupied four of the present city squares, 
bounded by Fourth and Sixth streets and Perry and Hart 
streets. This seminary was built in 1S07 and was intended 
for use of common schools. It was sold by the school author- 
ities in 1839 to Bishop Hailandiere, who started St. Gabriel's 
College there under the managment of the Udist fathers, 
who conducted the college until 1844, when they left the 
diocese and Avent to New Orleans. It was then converted into 
an orphan as} 7 lum and so continued until the orphans were 

30 A History of Yincennes. 

removed to Terre Haute. The Seminary was then turned 
over to the Sisters of Providence who established there St. 
Eose Academy. Francis Silas Chatard, the present bishop of 
the diocese, subdivided the square and opened Fifth and 
Seminary streets through it. The old Seminary was torn 
down in 1883 and the lots of the subdivision have all been 
sold except the part reserved for St. Eose Seminary, and are 
now held by private persons, and for the most part covered by 
fine residences. 

As late as 1850 the survey out of which has been carved iu 
part Judalr s addition, was enclosed with a rail fence and used 
for farming purposes. The part of the town back of the 
Court House was unoccupied and used for a race track. That 
portion extending back from Sixth street was Marachall'b 
field, and extended to the limits of the town and was culti- 
vated in corn. This was divided into lots by Alvin W. Tracy, 
his executor, in 1855, and the lots sold. All that part of the 
city above Hart street was vacant except the Harrison man- 
sion, the former residence of Judge Parke and that of Judge 
Law between them and the Judah square, afterwards called 
"the Baty place/' In 1857 the Lutheran Church on Eighth 
street was built and was then the sole and solitary structure 
of any kind in that quarter. 

So late as 1850 the buildings of the Steam Mill Company 
on the river front on what is now "Harrison" Park remained 
in a good state of preservation. The main structure of bricic 
was 700 feet in length and two stories high. It was painted 
white. From the second story extended a log carriage-way 
to the river upon which logs floated down the river were car- 
ried by steam power into the mill. The Terre Haute Stale 
Road passed beneath this log-way. Immediately above the 
mill was a tall, brick malt house, and still farther up a large 
distillery. Around this mill as late as 1850 there were still 
standing many large two-story brick buildings for business- 

•Landmarks. 31 

and residence purposes. The surroundings indicated that 
regular streets and paved sidewalks had been constructed. 
The houses were all finely finished. . The Masonic Hall was in 
one of them and the walls were beautifully frescoed with the 
symbolical emblems of the order. 

The building occupied by the Bank of Vincennes, and sub- 
sequently by act of the State Legislature in 1816 adopted as 
the State Bank of Indiana, and which bank gave rise to the 
celebrated quo warranto proceedings in the Circuit and Su- 
preme Courts of the State, was located in a brick building on 
the east corner of First and Broadway streets. 

The first building used for court purposes was of logs, sit- 
uated on the north corner of Second and Broadway streeLs, 
and which after it was abandoned for such purposes was, 
while Fort Knox, was occupied by Federal troops used for 
hospital purposes for sick, wounded and disabled soldiers. 

The second building used for court purposes was purchased 
from Bobert Buntin, and was located on the west corner of 
Fourth and Buntin streets, and the county jail and estray pen 
were on the north corner of the same streets. 

The present court square was purchased from Jacob Kuy- 
kendall, September 20, 1830, and has ever since been used for 
court and county purposes. 

The old fort built by Francois Morgan de Vincenne in 1702 
was built of logs and remained until 1820, when it was torn 
down and the logs used in its construction were used in build- 
ing private houses in various parts of the city, and which 
houses were durable and remained until torn down. One of 
the houses built of logs from the old fort was situate! on 
Lower Sixth street near the Catholic cemetery, and was only 
torn down a few years ago. 

32 A History of Vincennes. 



The old fort on the Wabash at Vincennes owed its origin 
to considerations of military necessity. The French were 
aware as early as 1650 of the dangers that would in the future 
imperil their possessions on this continent and prudently en- 
deavored to counteract them. Their colonies on the St. Law- 
rence river in the north, were widely separated from those on 
the Gulf of Mexico in the south. It was necessary for pro- 
tection in a military point of view to connect them by a direct 
communication. This could not be done along the Atlantic 
coast as the English, their menacing and hostile rivals, occu- 
pied the intervening space in that quarter. It was only feasi- 
ble by a line of forts through the unbroken and unexplored 
wilderness of the West. This connection was determined on 
as early as 1650 by the French ministry in control of affairs. 
But to execute it was a work requiring time. A survey had to 
be made and a practicable route adopted. It required years 
to explore this vast expanse of country through which the pro- 
posed connection was to be made. Exploring parties would 
have to grope their way through this extended stretch of wil- 
derness, not only presenting natural obstacles, but filled with 
savage and in many cases hostile Indian tribes. The entire 
field stretching for thousands of miles had to be viewed in 
order to select the most feasible route and locate the forts in 
the proper places. The Mississippi river flowing almost di- 
rectly north and south, was a natural highway affording easy 
ingress to the north from the Gkilf of Mexico. The St. Law- 
rence river and the great chain of lakes connected with it were 
a natural highway opening the heart of the continent to ap- 

The Old Fort. 


roach from the Atlantic. It was determined to connect these 
two groat natural highways. The St. Lawrence route was 
direct and continous from the Atlantic to Detroit river. But 
here its direction was broken and only sustained by a long de- 
tour to the north and then an equal distance to the south. To 
avoid this circuity and waste of time, it was determined to 
make the connection from Detroit to the Mississippi at the 
junction of the Ohio. The site of Vincennes was selected as 
the place to locate one of the forts. This route was practica- 
ble and afforded a water communication in a direct course 


almost the entire distance. The waters of the Maumee, the 
St. Joseph, the St. Mary and Wabash rivers, presented nat- 
ural facilities for communication only interrupted by a very 
narrow portage. This divide separating the waters of these 
rivers is so narrow and contracted that the crystal drops fall- 
ing on the earth from their home in the sky, are at first puz- 
zled to determine which course to take, whether to seek the 
cold and sparkling waters of the Atlantic through the great 
lakes and the St. Lawrence river or the warm and rosy bosom 
of the Gulf of Mexico through the Wabash, Ohio and Missis- 
sippi rivers. This route had been selected and determined 

34 A History op Vincennes. 

upon by the French government before 1700. It was sup- 
posed for many years that the "Ouabasche" was the river that 
emptied into the Mississippi Eiver. Judge Law in his address 
of February 2.2, 1838, says: "It is a singular fact that the 
Wabash river was known and navigated by the whites long 
before the Ohio was known to exist." But this is not a sin- 
gular fact and results as a natural sequence from the way the 
country was settled. This continent was first settled by the 
Europeans along the Atlantic coast, but the Allegheny 
mountains and the Blue Bidge were barriers forbidding the 
discovery and settlement of the Mississippi valley from that 
direction. This could only be done by way of the St. Law- 
rence and its connecting lakes. And this is the way it was 
explored and settled. The head waters of the Wabash river 
being nearer this route of travel from the north was neces- 
sarily discovered and navigated before the Ohio. 

The old fort here was built in the fall of 1702. The first 
of the military forts in the North of the contemplated chain 
built by the French, Avas at Detroit in 1701. The next year 
Francois Morgan de Vincenne, according to the Quebec an- 
nals, a trusted officer in the service of the French, was sent 
with a military force to build three forts on the route selected 
for the chain of French forts to connect Canada and Louisi- 
ana. One at the junction of the St. Joseph and St. Mary 
rivers where the city of Fort Wayne now stands, two on the 
Wabash river, one about seven miles below the present city of 
Lafayette called "Outanon." The third at the site of Vin- 
cennes. These forts were certainly built in the order named 
as that would naturally follow, considering the point where 
the force engaged in their construction started to do the work 
which was Detroit. 

It was the custom of the French in all their explorations 
and settlements on this continent to operate with two forces,, 
the sword and the cross. The one represented the civil, and 

The Old Fort. 35 

the other the spiritual power. Accordingly the force that 
came here with de Vincenne in 1702 to build the fort, and 
thus lay the foundation of civilization in these parts, was ac- 
companied by a French Jesuit missionary, who in the fall of 
1702 celebrated the holy sacrifice of the mass at this place, in 
the open air, before the troops, the villagers and thousands of 
Indians. This mass was said near where the fort was to be 
built and near where the cathedral now stands. This act of 
the Jesuit missionary is recited in the Quebec annals and may 
be taken as the date when the site of Vincennes was conse- 
crated and dedicated to civilization and Christianity. 

When the French came here in 1702 to build the fort they 
were welcomed and kindly received by the Indian tribes in- 
habiting the Wabash country about here. It is certain they 
gave them no active opposition but made them concessions of 
land in the village and surrounding country. It is stated in 
documents still preserved in Quebec that the Indians assisted 
the French in building both the church and the fort. And 
this is reasonable to believe from the known amicable rela- 
tions that always existed between the French and the various 
Indian tribes, with whom they came in contact. The French 
and Indian tribes always lived in peace and concord. Judge 
Law says in his adress of February, 1838 : "The French 
have always succeeded in conciliating the Indians and gaining 
their confidence and good will, while the Anglo Saxon has 
made but little progress in claiming their confidence and af- 

The country around Vincennes has been subject to the sov- 
ereignty of several different nationalities. It was first 
claimed, occupied and colonized by the French. It remained 
subject to this jurisdiction until the year 1763, when by the 
treaty of Paris of that year, it Avas ceded to Great Britain. 
It remained subject to that power until the capture of Kas- 
kaskia and other French posts on the Mississippi river in 

36 A History op Vincennes. 

July, 1778, and the capture of the old fort here in February, 
1779, by Virginia troops under command of George Rogers 
Clark. It then became a part of the commonwealth of old 
Virginia. It so remained until 1784, when that state ceded 
to the general government the territory northwest of the 
river Ohio, only stipulating in the act of cession that the ter- 
ritory thus ceded, should be divided into new states and ad- 
mitted into the Union without slavery. And in accordance 
with this stipulation in the grant of Virginia to the general 
government, the five states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michi- 
gan and Wisconsin, have been carved out of the territory and 
admitted into the Union as free states. 

The old fort here was called by many different names but 
never during all the time the French continued in possession, 
was it ever called by the name of "Sackville." It was never so 
called until the British acquired the Northwest Territory 
after the close of the old French war by the treaty of Paris. 
The British wishing to obliterate from the minds of the in- 
habitants all recollection of the French regime named the 
fort here "Sackville." This was intended as a compliment to 
Sir Thomas Sackville, earl of Dorset, an English scholar and 
statesman, who was a great favorite of the English govern- 
ment and who was employed in many important foreign mis- 
sions. On the death of Lord Burleigh he succeeded him as 
Prime Minister of England, in which capacity he was regarded 
in sagacity and fidelity, as equal to his great predecessor, and 
in his honor the English named the fort here. But the object 
of the English in naming the fort failed of its purpose. The 
French did not approve or accept the name and never as long 
as the fort stood referred to it in any other way than the 
"old fort," and would not have known what fort was referred 
to as "Sackville." 

The town itself has been called by many different names. 
I have seen it stated that the name of the original village that 

The Old Fort. 37 

occupied this site was "Chippecoke." But I do not know upon 
what authority the statement is made. No reliable document 
calling the Indian village upon the Wabash at this place by 
that name has yet come under my observation. As to the dif- 
ferent names the place has been called, Bishop Brute says: 
"Few places have received so many different appellations in 
the public documents either of old Virginia, of Congress or 
even of the territory where it would seem it would be best pre- 
served; few had their orthography more wonderfully diversi- 
fied. Beside the "Ancient Poste," "The Poste," "An Poste," 
"Post Ouabache," "Post St. Francis Xavier," and finally 
"Poste Vincents." 

The town was never called Vincennes until after 1736. It 
has been frequently stated that the place received its name 
from a place so called in the vicinity of Paris in France. But 
this is a mistake. The place derives its name from no city 
in France or elsewhere, but from the French officer who came 
here in 1702, and built the fort. And this name was given 
the place to perpetuate the memory and heroism of its 
founder. This was done in consequence of the tragic death 
and self sacrifice of de Vincenne in a disastrous battle with 
the Chickasaw Indians. In 1736 the French to force their 
way and complete their chain of forts, were at war with these 
Indians who inhabited the country midway between here and 
the fort at Vicksburg. It was determined by the French in 
order to complete the chain of forts, to attack them both from 
the north and south. Accordingly two armies were organized 
for the purpose. The force from the south was under the 
command of Bienville. The one from the north under the 
command of D'Artegette and Francois Morgan de Vincenne. 
It was intended the forces should form a conjunction before 
risking a decisive battle with the Chickasaws. But the forces 
from the south under Bienville were delayed and failed to 
form a junction. D'Artegette, unfortunately determined to 

33 A History of Vincennes. 

attack the Indians with the northern forces alone. He did 
so and was successful in several minor engagements and capt- 
ured several of their smaller villages. When they approached 
the stronghold of the Chickasaws in the vicinity of the present 
city of Memphis, they halted before it in hopes they would be 
joined by the force from the south under Bienville. As long 
as that officer remained in the vicinity in a threatening atti- 
tude, the Indians and French remained quietly confronting 
each other. When Bienville retreated with his force and re- 
turned to Louisiana, the savages became emboldened and at- 
tacked the French, and defeated them in a bloody engage- 
ment. In consequence of this defeat, M. D'Artegette, de Vin- 
cenne and Father Antoninus Senat, then pastor of St. Fran- 
cis Xavier church here, who accompanied the expedition as 
spiritual adviser, were all taken prisoners by the Indians. 
Father Senat and de Vincenne could have easily escaped with 
the remnant of the troops that retreated, and came back, and 
were entreated to do so. The retreat was conducted by M. 
Voisin, a young French officer, but both Father Senat and de 
Vincenne, with self sacrificing devotion of true heroes and 
martyrs, refused to join the retreating forces and thus save 
themselves, but leave the wounded and dying soldiers to the 
fury of the savages. They remained with the wounded sold- 
iers and were both burned at the stake on Easter Sunday, 
] 736. This clay has always been observed as a holiday in all 
Catholic churches throughout the world and was a fitting day 
for the introduction of two martyr saints into the glories of 
the church triumphant. And from the time the troops who 
survived and returned to the fort here, this place has been 
called Vincennes and will ever be called as long as the rec- 
ollection of heroism and noble deeds will be appreciated 
among men. And thus it is clear Vincennes derives its name 
from an honorable source in perpetuation and remembrance 
of its founder. On this subject, Bishop Brute, says: "Al- 

The Old Fort. 39 

though we find no deliberation, no special act, no express 
monument for attaching the name of de Vincenne to the Post, 
we see how effectually that honorable gratitude gave his name 
to it." 

Of the three forts built by Francois Morgan de Yincenne 
in 1702, the one at this place was destined to endure the long- 
est and become of historic importance. The one built at the 
junction of the St. Mary's and St. Joseph's rivers was de- 
stroyed by the Indians and the remains seen and described by 
Gen. Wayne in 1794. The one called Outanon, on the Wa- 
bash, was destroyed by the Indians in 1765. But the old fort 
built here remained until torn down after 1816. 


40 A History op Vincennes. 



Vincennes was originally settled by the French, as already 
stated. When they came here and settled they found the 
country filled with various Indian tribes living together in 
peace and amity. These tribes were Delawares, Kickapoos, 
Mascontens, Miamis, Shawnees, Pottawatomies and Pianke- 
shaws. This place, from its location on high ground when the 
whole surrounding country was subject to overflow, made the 
site of Vincennes a favorite place of resort and abode for the 
Indian tribes. When the French came here they associated 
and affiliated with them on terms of equality. The marriages 
between the French and the Indian races were frequent. From 
this admixture of blood a dual race was produced called 
"Creoles." This race was for many years the dominant race 
about here in both town and country, and could, as late as 
1855, control all elections in Knox county. The Creole 
French occupied almost exclusively all that part of town be- 
low Main street, and the Lower and Cathilinette prairies. 
Their Indian ancestry was easily discernible in their personal 
appearance with high cheek bones and straight, black hair. 
They stood erect and held their head high and walked with 
long strides, and carried their persons upright and as straight 
as an arrow. Many of the Creoles were here until long after 
1850. But very few specimens are left now surviving in the 
town or country. 

This mixed stock embodied in combination the qualities of 
the two races or sources of derivation. They inherited all the 
virtues as well as the vices of the French and Indian in com- 
bination. From the French vivacity and good nature, and 

French Customs. 41 

from the Indian wild, roving and irascible traits of character. 
The result was that the Creole population was of rather a wid 
and intractable disposition, and mingled with it a love of 
ease and pleasure. Labor was distasteful and only perform- 
ed as a matter of necessity to provide for the wants of life 
and not from any desire to accumulate worldly goods and 
possessions. Hunting, fishing and dancing and all manner 
of sports and amusements were practiced. The sam.3 social 
state was observable here during the Creole supremacy as ex- 
ists today in the French Arcadian settlements of Lousiana 
back of the Mississippi Eiver. The dance was a favorite 
pastime, and the sound of the fiddle and the tread of feei 
to its strains were more frequently heard than that of the 
loom or the anvil. This has been so within the memory of 
men still living who well remember the joyous, free and easy 
times when Mitchel Richard ville was king of the ball room 
and led the dance with the strains of his fiddle, and the stamp 
of his right foot at one and the same time making as mush 
noise with the one as the other. 

A favorite dance with the French was the king ball on .New 
Year's night. On this occasion the young man chosen as king 
for the ball had the privilege of selecting his queen for the 
dance and during the evening. The king and queen were thfa 
most important persons at the ball and enjoyed themselves to 
their heart's content. The next day the king was expected, 
by custom, to present his queen with a new dress. 

Chicken fighting and horse racing were also resorted to, 
and were favorite diversions among the Creole French, and 
all manner of means devised by them to pass away the time 
and enjoy life without work. 

The Creoles were a very sociable and hospitable people. On 
Easter Sunday it was an invariable custom among them to 
visit their neighbors and acquaintances and make presents of 
colored eggs. On Christmas day it was expected that all 

42 A History of Vincennes. 

among them, both young and old, male and female, should 
exchange presents with their friends and acquaintances. On 
New Year's day it was general for them to exchange visits 
from house to house, and every one was welcome to any house 
and was expected to partake of the many good things provided 
for the occasion. 

Fighting was common among them and all the Creole men 
were boastful of their personal prowess. But these fights 
were all in old fashioned style with such arms only as nature 
provided. Up to 1844 the elections were attended in the town 
by all the voters and they were not confined to the townships 
in which they resided. The great volume of the vote was cast 
here at the county seat. Election clay was a great event, and 
the voters generally flocked to the county seat to vote and see 
the sights usual on such occasions. It was the time set apart 
by custom to settle personal disputes by trial, by battle and 
many difficulties were adjusted that way on election day. The 
result was that thousands flocked here on election day to wit- 
ness these personal encounters. Persons yet living in Vin- 
cennes can remember that on election day as many as a dozen 
fights would take place one after the other, and when one 
would cry, "Hold, enough !" hostilities would instantly cea&e 
and the difficulty was settled and at rest. The main battle 
ground was the intersection of Main and Third streets, and 
thousands there assembled to witness these pugilistic exercises, 
and elevated places of observation were at a premium. 

The only vehicles to be seen on the streets of Vincennes as 
late as 1845 were French carts called "calesche." One of them 
would be a curiosity now. They were creations of necessity, 
as the old Creole French in their isolated condition here were 
cut off in a manner from the outside world. These French 
carts were of home made manufacture. They were two- 
wheeled vehicles with shafts for only one horse. They were 
entirelv constructed of wood without the use of anv metal 

French Customs. 43 

whatever. They were used for hauling wood and produce oi 
every kind, and for every kind of farm work. They were the 
only vehicle provided for the use of the family either male 01 
female. In these carts, the body of which was in size and 
shape very similar to a large dry goods box, an entire Creole 
family, man, wife and children, would huddle together and 
jostle along going to church or on a visit, the horse maintain- 
ing a brisk trot, and the heads of the household bobbing up 
and down at a lively rate. 

These Creole customs and practices were legitimate fruits 
of the blending of the French and Indian races. They were 
all professed Catholics in religion, but paid little attention to 
the precepts of the church. They, as a. general rule, only en- 
tered the church on three occasions during life. First, when 
baptised; then when married, and lastly when carried there 
to have the last rites of the church performed over their dead 
bodies. When Father Flaget, afterwards first bishop of 
Bardstown, Ivy., came here as resident pastor, December 21, 
1792, he tried to curb the Creole population and reform their 
habits and enforce conformity to church discipline. He con- 
demned their wild and roving habits and frivolous amuse- 
ments as being contrary to the teachings of the church. Ht 
encouraged agriculture and the mechanic arts and started a 
free industrial school to instill into their minds habits of in- 
dustry. He urged them to see that their children attended re- 
ligious schools where they would form habits of honor, piety 
and virtue and become an honor to their name and a consola- 
tion to their grey hairs. He exhorted them to fence about 
their homes so they would be structures of Christian virtue. 
He exhorted them to be faithful Catholics and their country 
would be proud of them as models of religious enlightenment 
and patriotism. He accomplished much good, but was re- 
called before he had finished his good work. 

It is a singular fact that both Indians and negro slaves 

44 A History of Vtncenxes. 

were held here among the Creoles, as well as other settlers 
from Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky long 
after the passage of the ordinance of 1787 and the state con- 
stitution of 1816. In 1830 the trustees of the Borough di- 
rected the Marshal to take a census of the population. He 
did so, and his official return to the Trustees shows the fol- 
lowing result: White males, 768; white females, 639; free 
black males, 63; free black females, 63; slave males, 12; slave 
females, 20 ; total population, 1,565. 

Yincennes was for a long time after it was founded an out- 
post in the wilderness. It had no communication with the 
colonies on the Atlantic and was to them a "term incognita.'' 
But the formation of the Territorial Government in 1800 
changed all this. When the first comers after that arrived 
here they found a French settlement speaking that language 
exclusively, and no more than a dozen English speaking peo- 
ple in the place. The Creole population never learned to 
speak the English language. When the Territorial Govern- 
ment was formed and VinceUnes named as the capital, the sea- 
board States poured their overflow population composed of a 
restless, battling swarm of home seekers through the Alleghen- 
ies out upon the rich prairies of the west. All these adven- 
turous men directel their steps to Vincennes as a common 
mecca. As the curtain rose upon the advancing Saxon and 
Celt they beheld with awe the mystery of a new civilization. 
The native Indian and Latin races mingled in fraternal ac- 
cord on the banks of the Wabash. The town was a marvel, a 
page torn from some book of enchantment. A fragment of 
Europe suddenly dropped in his path could scarce have awak- 
ened more astonishment. He beheld long lines of white 
houses thatched with straw and covered with adobe, each with 
its arcade festooned with trailing vines and half hidden in 
season under the bloom of peach, cherry and apple trees. In 
the centre the frowning walls of a citadel overlooking a bel- 
fried church, and a necropolis entombing a century's dead. 

French Customs. 45 

Its streets thronged with brightly dressed, dark-eyed women 
and well-dressed men chatting in a strange tongue. These 
people were all seekers after pleasure and social enjoyment, 
and were not wedded to the acquisition of wealth. He min- 
gled with them in their balls and festive clays. In the church 
' the altar blazing with lights before which robed priests chant- 
ed Latin prayers and intoned the music of the mass. With 
such scenes were the first adventurers of the English speak- 
ing race confronted on their arrival among the ancient in- 
habitants of Vincennes. But what became of this civiliza- 
tion ? Where are the lords of the forest who reigned with un- 
bounded sway over these fertile regions? Where the Dela- 
wares, the Kickapoos, the Miamis, the Shawees, the Potta- 
watomies ; nay ! even the half civilized Piankeshaws who with 
their village occupied one-half the town? Their bows are 
broken, their council fires extinguished, the graves of their 
fathers deserted. The white man came, civilization attended 
him, and desolation and death followed in his train. And 
what became of the patriarchs of the Post, the gay, the polite, 
the lively and the hospitable French and Canadians who set- 
tled it? The dance has ceased, the sound of the viol is no 
longer heard. The Anglo-Saxon has usurped the place of the 
descendants of St. Louis. How many French families whose 
members were formerly almost as numerous as the leaves of 
the forest are now represented by any living members ? Where 
are the Busserons, the Lasselles, the Geueroms, the Andres, 
the Burclalows, the Cardinals, the Bazadous, the Amlins, the 
Eichardvilles, the Laderouts, the Eacines? They are all 
gone. This result is attributable in part to the frequent in- 
termarriage of blood relations, and the impoverishment of 
the stock. In part from having come- in contact with the 
Anglo-Saxon, that strong and aggressive blood race that ab- 
sorbs, eliminates, appropriates, enslaves or extinguishes ah 
races that come into its way, and the result is the stronger has 
supplanted the weaker. 

46 A History op Vincennes. 


, Courts. 

As long as the French held possession of the Northwest 
Territory there were no courts of justice at Vincennes or any- 
where else in the French settlements, so far as known. All 
matters of dispute were decided by the various commandants 
of the Post, who Avere de Vincennes, St. Auge, LeG-rand and 
Legras. All concessions of land to the inhabitants were made 
by them on little slips of paper. Of all these transactions no 
record was ever made so far as known, and the slips of paper 
evidencing concessions of land were not recorded. The trans- 
fers of land were made by actual transfer of possession as per- 
sonal property was transferred. This was much the same as 
the old livery of seizure in English practice. This manner of 
transferring lands without record or deed gave the United 
States commissioners appointed to adjust French grants 
much trouble, as these old French grants had to be ascer- 
tained and adjusted by parole testimony. 

After the English acquired the territory in 1763 they only 
held it until 1779, a period of nineteen years, and nothing was 
done by them in the matter of establishing civil government 
in the Northwest Territory. 

When Virginia acquired the territory in 1779 by her troops 
under George Eogers Clark, in the spring of that year an act 
was passed by the Virginia Legislature for the government 
of the territory thus acquired. John Todd was appointed 
" ■Lieutenant of the Country and Commander-in-Chief." He im- 
mediately came to Vincennes and issued a proclamation an- 
nouncing his power and purposes. In June, 1779, he organ- 
ized "A Court for the District of Post Vihcmnes." This 




48 A History of Vincennes. 

court, possessed both civil and criminal jurisdiction and was 
composed of the following judges: F. Busseron, L. E. Do- 
line, Pierre Gamelin and Pierre Queray. This court contin- 
ued in existence until it was superseded by the courts of the 
United States, appointed under the ordinance of 1787. 

When the United States acquired the territory steps were 
taken by Congress to establish civil government for the terri- 
tory. On the 13th of July, 1787, an act of Congress was 
passed organizing the "Territory Northivest of the River 
Ohio." Gen. Arthur St. Clair was appointed the first gov- 
ernor of the territory. In January, 1790, he sent Wilthrop 
Sargeant, secretary of the territory, to Post Vincennes to or- 
ganize the county. Sargeant accordingly came to Vincemiefc 
and did this in the summer of 1790, and named the county he 
organized "Knox," after Gen. Henry Knox, the secretary of 
war. The court established by him for Knox county was 
called "General Quarter Sessions of the Peace." It held its 
first session at the house of John Small, who was appointed 
sheriff on July 4, 1790. There were present at this session 
as judges, Antoine Gamelin, Paul Gamelin, Francois Busser- 
on, James Johnson and Luke Decker. Samuel Baird was ap- 
pointed clerk of this court. It continued until Indiana Terri- 
tory was organized in 1800. 

There was a court of "Oyer and Terminer, and General Jail 
Delivery and Nisi Prius" held at Vincennes in October, 1795, 
before John Cleves Symmes, senior judge of the Territory 
Northwest of the Ohio. But little business was done at this 
session, and was the only term of said court ever held here 
of which there is any record. 

When Indiana Territory was organized, Henry Vander- 
burg, William Clark and John Griffin were appointed the first 
Federal judges of the Territory. Under the Federal Govern- 
ment there were two Courts that exercised jurisdiction in this 
county. One was called the "General Court" and exercised 

Courts. 49 

jurisdiction throughout the territory. The other was called 
"Common Pleas/' and its jurisdiction was limited to the sev- 
eral counties and possessed jurisdiction in probate matters. 
Henry Hurst was clerk of both these courts from their organ- 
ization until they were superseded by the courts organized by 
the State Government in 1816. 

Since the organization of the State Government probate 
matters have been transacted by different courts. The first 
one in point of time was the "Court of Probate.'' The fol- 
lowing judges presided in this court in the order named: 
William Caruthers, William R. McCall, John Ewing, John B. 
Drennon, Henry Ruble, Mark Barnett, William L. Coleman, 
William Polke, John Moore and Richard P. Price. This 
•court was adjourned sine die Saturday, August 15, 1829. 

The above court was succeeded by the "Probate Court/'' 
which was organized September 7, 1829. The following per- 
sons presided as judges in this court in the order named: 
William Polke, George W. Ewing, Abner T. Ellis, Robert N. 
Canian, George R. Gibson, Robert P. McCounghey, John H. 
Harrison, James Thorne and Clark Willis. This court was in 
1852 abolished b} r act of the Legislature. 

The Probate Court was succeeded by the "Court of Com- 
mon Pleas." This court was organized in this county Jaa- 
uary 3, 1853. This was not strictly speaking a county court. 
It was called a district conrt and embraced several counties, 
presided over by the same judge. This district, in which 
Knox county was situated, was composed of the counties of 
Knox, Daviess, Martin and Pike. This court had jurisdiction 
■of all probate matters and civil cases when the amount in 
controversy did not exceed one thousand dollars, but not in 
cases of slander or where the title to real estate was involved, 
iind in criminal cases less than felony. The following per- 
sons presided as judges in this court in this county in the 
order named: Richard A. Clements, James C. Denny, Rich- 

50 A History of Vincennes. 

arcl A. Clements, Jr., William K. Gardner and James T. 
Pierce. This conrt was abolished by an act of the Legisla- 
ture in 1873, and its jurisdiction and business was transferred 
to the Circuit Court. 

The most important court in dignity and jurisdiction in the 
county has ever been the Circuit Court. It has always pos- 
sessed general common law and equity powers in all cases, 
both civil and criminal. It was first created by an act of the 
Territorial Legislature passed at Cory don in 1814. The first 
court met in this county May 9, 1811, but no business was 
transacted, as only the clerk and sheriff were present, but no 
president judge. The same thing occurred at the following 
August term, as no president judge appeared. The first term 
of this court at which any business was transacted was held 
March 16, 1815, when Isaac Blackford appeared as the pres- 
ident judge, and Daniel Sullivan and James B. McCall as> 
associate judges. It was for many years that in this court in 
addition to the president judge, who was to be a lawyer, there 
were two associate judges who were not necessarily required 
to be lawyers. The president judges in this court have been 
in the order named: Isaac Blackford, David Raymond, 
William Prince, Thomas H. Blake, General W. Johnson, Jon- 
athan Doty, Jacob Call, John E. Porter, John Law, General 
W. Johnson, Amory Kinney, Elisha M. Huntington, William 
P. Bryant, John Law, Samuel B. Gookins, Delano R-. Eccles, 
Alvin P. Hovey, William E. Niblack, Ballard Smith, Michael 
F. Burke, James C. Denny, John Baker, ISTewton E. Malott y 
George W. Shaw, and Orlando H. Cobb, the present incum- 

Municipal. 51 



Vincennes enjoys the unique distinction as having been 
known and recognized by name long before she was legally 
born. It was frequently mentioned as '"Borough of Vin- 
cennes" in many official documents and reports and acts of 
legislatures before any specific act incorporating it was ever 
passed. It was referred to as the "Borough of Vincennes" in 
the act of the Territorial Legislature incorporating the "Vin- 
cennes University," which was passed in 1806. The first act 
incorporating Vincennes was passed by the Territorial Legis- 
lature in 1807. By this act the following persons were cre- 
ated its first board of trustees : Bobert Buntin, William Bul- 
litt, Charles Smith, Hyacinthe Lasselle, Joshua Bend, Henry 
Hurst, Jacob Kuykendall, Touissant Dubois and Peter Jones. 
The act declared the territory included within the following- 
boundaries to be the limits of the borough: Hart street on 
the northeast, the church lands on the southwest, the Wabash 
river on the northwest and Eleventh street on the southeast. 
These boundaries continued to be the limits of the old 
borough until the act of the state legislature passed January 
3, 1817; annexed to it "Harrison's Addition." The limits of 
the borough thus extended, continued to be its limits during 
the life of the borough organization. The subsequent annex- 
ations to include the present limits of the city have all been 
the work of the city organization. 

A number of acts were afterwards passed by the state leg- 
islature amendatory in character, but the most important one 
was the act passed February 14, 1838. This borough organi- 

52 A History op Vincennes. 

zation remained in operation until it was succeeded by the 
present city organization in 1856. 

The old Borough of Vincennes during its long continued 
existence called into her service many trustworthy men. 
Among these I will name the following who filled various 
positions of trust and honor under the old borough of Vin- 
cennes: Jacob D. Early, John Moore, General W. Johnson, 
Charles H. Tillinghast, Valentine I. Bradley, Andrew Gard- 
ner, Martin Robinson, Abner T. Ellis, George B. C. Sullivan, 
Owen Keily, John Ewing, John Collins, Elihu Stout, Sam- 
uel Hill, Heniw D. Wheeler, J. C. S. Harrison and Jeremiah 

The last meeting of the board of trustees under the old 
borough organization, was held on the 7th day of February, 

An election was held on the 25th clay of Januar} 7 , 1856, to 
decide the question whether to abandon the old borough or- 
ganization and incorporate under the general law of the state 
providing for the incorporation of cities. This election called 
out but a light vote. The whole number of votes cast was 
only 255 of which 181 were in favor and 74 against the adop- 
tion, being an affirmative majority of 107 votes in favor of 
the adoption of the general law of the state for the incorpora- 
tion of cities. This majority was sufficient, however, to de- 
stroy the borough organization and that historical old borough 
ceased to exist and the new born city of Vincennes succeeded 
to its powers and franchises. 

The following persons have filled the office of Mayor of 
Vincennes in the order named: John Moore, James Dick, 
William A. Jones, Richard J. McKenney, Henry V. Somes, 
George E. Greene, William B. Robinson, James S. Pritchett, 
William II. Beeson, William B. Searight, James H. Shouse, 
John Wilhelm, Francis Murphy, Oliver G. Miller and George 
E. Greene. 

Municipal. 53 

The following persons have filled the office of clerk : James 
S. Mayes, John Ewing, Albert Montgomery, Charles G. 
Mathesie, George G. Tumey, Emil Grill, Charles W. East- 
ham, Charles A. £ripps, Cyrus M. Allen, George E. Greene 
and Charles Laugel. 

The f olloA?ing have been treasurer : Andrew Armstrong, 
Isaac E\ Eastham, Gerhard H. Duesterberg, Joseph Bey, 
Charles W. Jones, Peter E. McCarthy, Henry B. Duesterberg, 
Charles G. Mathesie, Frank H. Hoffman and Thomas East- 

54 A History of Vixcexnes. 



For a century after the town was founded it was without 
an}' incorporation or police guardianship. During all that 
time the inhabitants were honest and everybody attended Lo 
his own business and suffered his neighbor to do the same. 
The distinction between meum and tuum was strictly ob- 
served. In fact the doors of the houses were without locks or 
bars of any kind. This was the condition of affairs during 
the French supremacy. With the influx of strangers from the 
Atlantic States came the necessity for civil organization and 
police protection. Accordingly, in 1807, the town was incor- 
porated for the first time as a borough. For many years after 
this the police protection of the town was satisfactorily per- 
formed by the marshal alone. And for a long time after- 
wards, with the assistance of a single deputy. This continued 
to be the case during the life of the borough organization. 
The following persons filled the office of marshal during this 
period: Jeremiah Donovan, Thomas J. Beeler, Benjamin F. 
Thorne and A. L. Corno} T er. After the organization of the 
city government the common council, September 1, 1871, 
passed an ordinance organizing a police force to assist the 
marshal in keeping order and preserving the peace. The 
members of the police force were to be elected by the city 
council and were subject to its control, and could be removed 
by the council. This police force was sufficient for the pur- 
pose intended. The following persons filled the office of city 
marshal under the city organization: Emanuel Meisenhelter, 
John J. Worman, Jeremiah Donovan, Jacob Metzger, John 
A. Pulliam, William Sachs, John T. McBride, Louis Hahn, 
Frank Johnson, George M. White and Thomas Robertson. 
The General Assembly at the session of 1901 amended the 

Police. 55 

act providing for a metropolitan police so as to include 
Vincennes within the provisions of that law. This law had 
already been in force as to many cities of the State for many 
years. Bnt its provisions only included such cities as had a 
larger population than Vincennes. The amendment of 1901 
made the law applicable to cities having a population as large 
as Vincennes. Under the metropolitan system the governor 
of the State is authorized to appoint three police commis- 
sioners in cities within its operation, only requiring him to 
select members so far as possible from the two leading politi- 
cal parties. This restriction on the appointing power of the 
governor insures a non-partisan board of police commission- 
ers. The governor under this act appointed as the first board 
of police commissioners for Vincennes, Schuyler C. Beard, 
Daniel L. Bonner and Dexter Gardner. These appointees are 
all good and competent men and their appointment gave gen- 
eral satisfaction to the people of the city. These police com- 
missioners are empowered to make rules for the government 
of the police force, to fix the number of the force ana their 
compensation, and can remove the members for cause wnen 
they see proper. The compensation of the commissioners is 
not fixed by themselves, but by the governor. This police sys- 
tem will in all probability give the city better police protec- 
tion than the old. This, for the reason that there is no di- 
vided responsibility in the appointment of the commissioners 
or members of the force. The responsibility for the character 
and qualifications of the police commissioners rests indi- 
vidually with the governor, and his reputation in the matter 
is directly and solety at stake and will cause him on that ac- 
count to appoint qualified and worthy men without bias or 
prejudice. The same responsibility rests upon the commis- 
sioners in the appointment of members of the police force, 
and will operate upon them in the appointments they make, 

and thus a competent and trustworthy police force will al- 


ways be assured. For these reasons, in all probability the 
metropolitan police system will afford the city as good protec- 
tion as possible. 

When this system first went into operation here there was 
manifested in some quarters opposition to it. But this oppo^- 
sition and criticism was premature and not well founded. 
The system has not yet been given a fair trial, and its work- 
ings are not yet known. This opposition was in part due to 
personal considerations, but mainly to partisan prejudice on 
account of its being supposed to be a Republican measure. 
But this view is erroneous. It is not a Republican measure, 
but was originally introduced as a Democratic measure and 
supported by such men as Thomas A. Hendricks, Joseph E. 
McDonald, William H. English, Isaac P. G-ray and Richard 
J. Bright. But this partisan view should not be entertained. 
The system should be given a fair trial, and it will be devel- 
oped that it is a better system than the old. 

Newspapers. 57 



Vincennes almost from the organization of the territory, 
has been liberally supplied with newspapers. The establish- 
ment of a newspaper in a place is an important era in its 
history. The press is the great conduit through which intel- 
ligence is generally disseminated among the masses. It 
brings communities in close contact with each other and 
tends in an eminent degree to enlighten, refine and elevate 
the character of the masses generally. 

The first newspaper established in Vincennes, and in fact 
in the whole territory, now comprising the State of Indiana, 
was the Western Sun, by Elihu Stout. The first number of 
this paper was issued on July 4th, 1804. It required much 
labor and endurance to establish this paper. The material for 
the purpose had to be procured in Kentucky and transported 
here on pack horses. There were no roads leading from Vin- 
cennes to the East at that time. Mr. Stout was compelled to 
take three horses on his trip to Kentucky to procure material 
and travel through the wilderness. One of the horses was 
for himself to ride and the other two for the purpose of carry- 
ing the material. But he persevered and issued his first num- 
ber July 4, 1804. The publication was regularly continued 
for nearty two years, when the office was destroyed by fire. 
But not discouraged, he procured from Kentucky other ma- 
terial, and on the 4th of July, 1807, issued the first number of 
his resurrected paper. He continued its publication with 
regularity until November, 1845, when he was appointed 
Postmaster at Vincennes, and sold the paper to John R. 

58 A History op Vincennes. 

Jones. During the time Mr. Stout published the paper he 
took in partnership many different persons who soon became 
discouraged and fell by the wayside. The names of these 
persons it is not necessary to state. After he sold the paper to 
Jones, it was neglected and for a time its publication sus- 
pended. During this time attempts were made to start vari- 
ous papers under different names, but they were all short 
lived, and soon passed away and were forgotten. Among the 
number may be mentioned: "Jones' Vincennes Sentinel," 
"The Indiana Patriot," "The Vincennes Courant," "The 
Patriot and Courant." Finally George E. Greene in 1856, 
purchased the paper and re-issued it under its old name, 
"Western Sun." From the time he took possession, the paper 
has been a success, financially and politically, and has become 
a leading Democratic paper in Southern Indiana. Mr. Greene 
commenced the publication of a semi-weekly when he took 
charge and Mr. Purcell, the present proprietor, in 1879 com- 
menced the publication of a daily. Mr. Greene died in 1870 
and the paper was jrarchased by Gen. Reuben C. Kise. He 
soon died and the paper was purchased by Dr. Alfred Patton. 
He subsequently sold the establishment to Andrew J. Thomas 
& Co. It passed from them, to the possession of Royal E. 
Purcell, the present projmetor. 

In the early days of the territory many different news- 
papers were attempted to be started here by Samuel Hill, 
John Ewing and Mr. Osborn, but all these ventures were fail- 
ures, and the papers they started soon passed out of existence. 

In 1816 the Indiana Sentinel was started by X. Blackman, 
for Willis Fellows, and was published in a brick building 
opposite the Vincennes steam mill in the upper part of the 
city, now occupied by "Harrison Park." This paper was 
started in the interest of the steam mill company and to ad- 

Newspapees. 59 

vance and advertise its business. The publication of the 
paper was continued until the failure of the steam mill com- 
pany some four or five years after, when its publication 

In 1808 a paper was started here in the interest of Jona- 
than Jennings, who was a candidate for Territorial Delegate 
to Congress against Thomas Randolph, who was then District 
Attorney of the United States for the Indiana territory. Jen- 
nings was strongly opposed to the introduction of slavery in 
the territory and he claimed that Randolph was at heart in 
favor of its introduction. To advance his political interests, 
a paper was started here which took strong ground against 
the introduction of slavery in the territory and warmly advo- 
cated the election of Jennings. But this venture, like all its 
predecessors, was short lived and ceased to exist with the 
occasion that called it forth. 

The first paper that can be said to have been founded here 
in opposition to the Sun was the Vincennes Gazette, started 
by Richard Y. Caddington in 1830. This paper was ably 
edited and became the organ of the Whig party, and was a 
success. Mr. Caddington continued its publication until 
1855. The paper was then sold to Harvey Mason & Co., who 
successfully continued its publication until May 28, 1859, 
when it became the property of Dr. II. M. Smith and M. P. 
Gee. In 1861 William Denny became proprietor and con- 
tinued its publication until 1862, when Cyrus M. Allen and 
Dr. H. M. Smith became owners. In a few months Charles 
I. Williams became proprietor and Cyrus M. Allen continued 
as editor. In May, 1863, John M. Wilson became proprietor 
with T. C. Shuber as editor. In January, 1864, William H. 
Jackson succeeded Shuber as editor. In a few months it 
passed into the hands of William H. Jackson and John M. 
Griffin. On October M, 1865, John M. Griffin became sole 

60 A History of Vincennes. 

proprietor and the old Vincennes Gazette soon ceased to 

On the 24th February, 1854, William H. Jackson and 
James G. Hutchinson commenced the publication of the 
"News of the Day." This was a paper devoted to the cause 
of the Know Nothing party and being located in a community 
hostile to that party, it soon expired a natural death for want 
of patronage. 

The "Old Post Union" was started by James G. Hutchinson, 
March 7, 1862. This paper survived but a very short time, 
and was succeeeded by the "Vincennes Times," the publica- 
tion of which was commenced by E. Y. Caddington and Will- 
iam H. Jackson. Mr. Jackson retired from the paper and 
was succeeded by Gen. Lazarus Noble, December 6, 1873. The 
paper was sold to Malachi Krebs, October 17, 1875, but Krebs 
failed to pay the purchase money and the paper passed to 
James J. Mayes, John Mallet and A. V. Crotts. Mr. Grotts 
ceased his connection with the paper in 1879 and it soon 
after ceased to exist. 

The "Vincennes Commercial" was established by S. F. 
Horrall, A. Horrall and N. Horrall, March 13, 1877, under 
the firm name of S. F. Horrall & Sons. This paper was de- 
voted to the interests of the Eepublican party and was con- 
tinued by its founders until February 15, 1881, when it passed 
into the hands of the "Commercial Company," with T. H. 
Adams as editor. Tbe paper was subsequently purchased by 
Mr. Adams, who became the sole proprietor and editor, and 
has continued its publication until the present time. In ad- 
dition to a weekly a daily edition has been successfully and 
profitably issued. It is ably conducted and edited and claims 
to be the organ of the Eepublican party in this county. 

The "Vincennes News" was established by W. W. Bailey & 
Co. with Warren Worth Bailey as editor in 1877. This was 

Newspapers. 61 

a weekly paper and was edited with marked ability. It 
claimed to be a Democratic paper, but was erratic in its course, 
and was never recognized as the organ of the Democratic 
party. It was generally thought to be a political guerilla. It 
advocated the Henry George theory of a single tax and for 
want of sufficient patronage ceased to exist about 1884. 

I must not omit to notice the "Vincennes Joker and Jocu- 
lar Jingler," a small newspaper started here in 1846, in the 
interest of merriment and good feeling. It was a spicy little 
sheet and was devoted to personal criticism of a harmless 
nature. It was ably edited by D. C. Kobinson and William 
H. Jackson, and was very popular as long as published, but 
was short lived and soon disappeared. 

The "National Era" was founded here by D. W. and A. L. 
Harbison, devoted to the principles of the Populist party. 
But with the passing of that party it lost its prestige although 
its publication is still continued. 

The "Knox County Democrat" was started by Allen Camp- 
bell. It was originally started in Monroe City, but was sub- 
sequently removed to this place and its publication continued 
here for several years by Mr. Campbell. It was a weekly 
paper and strongly advocated the free coinage of silver. Mr. 
Campbell sold the paper to Frank Signor and the paper was 
published by him for some time. He finally sold it to its 
present proprietors, Chancellor and Comfort. Its publication 
is still continued and it is Democratic in politics. 

The "Ladies' Home Ideal" is a monthly periodical pub- 
lished by Thomas H. Adams. It was started a few years ago 
and its publication is still continued. It is especially de- 
signed to advertise and promote the sale of patent medicines, 
of which Mr. Adams is proprietor. 

The "Vincennes Capital" is the last newspaper venture in 
Vincennes. It has rapidly worked its way to the front and 

62 A History op Vincennes. 

although young in years, is now regarded as the peer of any 
paper published in Vincennes. It is enterprising and strives 
to give its patrons the latest news and in this is successful. 
It is always alive to the best interests of Vincennes and is 
ever planning and suggesting means to advance the city and 
help build it up. It publishes both a weekly and daily edi- 
tion. It is ably edited and is strongly in the interest of Re- 
publican principles and men. 

Antiquities. 63 



Vincennes is rich in material of historic interest. There 
centre around her memories of a past extending beyond the 
recollections of the living, and reaching farther and farther 
backward till the} 7 gradually fade away and are lost and 
shrouded in the mists of conjecture. The date when the site 
of Vincennes was first visited by civilized man cannot be de- 
termined with precision at this time, and probably never can 
be. But it was in all probability as early as the year 16G0. 
This is not mere speculation, but can be reasoned out as a 
necessary sequitur by comparison with the happening of well 
known and authentic occurrences. Bancroft, in his history 
of the United States, says, "That no bay, no lake, no river, no 
mountain in all the vast expanse of this continent has ever 
yet been visited by any explorer but that a Jesuit missionary 
had been there before him." It is a well known and admitted 
fact that the early Jesuit missionaries in the X 1 orthwest were 
actuated by no love of gain, but for the sole purpose of dis- 
covery and the conversion of the Indian tribes to Christianity. 
To accomplish this they traversed the vast wilderness of the 
Northwest, visiting the Indians in their villages throughout 
the vast country bordering on the great lakes, the Mississippi, 
the Illinois and the Wabash Rivers. Jacques Marquette was 
one of the most celebrated and intrepid of these missionaries. 
He visited all parts of the Northwest. He circumnavigated 
Lake Superior, the largest and most westerly of the great 
lakes, and with Joliet sailed down the Mississippi river and is 
well known to have been in the Wabash country. Bishop 
Brute in his writings, says, "That the St, Joseph portage was 


A History of Vincennes. 

used by Father Marquette long before La Salle and Hennepin 
passed through that portage." He further says that "Father 
Marquette and Allonez passed through that portage on their 
way to the 'Ouachasche' country soon after 1660. While 
there is no positive evidence that Father Marquette was ever 
at the site of Vincennes, yet reasoning by the inductive pro- 
cess we are bound to conclude he was here as early as 1660. 
It would be unreasonable to suppose that this indefatigable 
worker for the conversion of the Indians would fail to visit 
so important a point in the Wabash Valley as this when he 


was known to be in its vicinity. This site was a favorite re- 
sort for all the Indian tribes on both sides of the Wabash 
Eiver. It was a safe place of abode for them in consequence 
of its high situation and the conditions then existing in this 
part of the surrounding country. From the earliest times 
until in very recent years the entire country on both sides of 
the Wabash Eiver were covered with water many feet deep 
twice during each year during the January and June freshets. 
During these flood seasons the country for hundreds of miles 
in all directions from the site of Vincennes was covered with 

Antiquities. 65 

water many feet deep and offered no suitable abiding place 
for the Indians. As late as 1846 the Wabash and Embarras 
Rivers annually overflowed their banks and united their 
waters, covering the intervening space of eight miles to a 
depth of seven or eight feet. And in the same way by 
overflow the White River united its waters with the Wabash 
to the east to a like depth. In 1816 the steamboat Daniel 
Boone was carried by the force of the overflow current a short 
distance above Yincennes from the channel of the Wabash 
River out into the prairie for over a mile, and was only re- 
turned to the river with difficulty. And in the same year the 
United States mail was carried from Vincennes over the over- 
flowed prairies on the Illinois side to the high ground on the 
Embarras River at Lawrenceville. And this was not an un- 
usual or singular occurrence, but happened frequently, 
until the country was protected by levies. These conditions 
made the site of Vincennes a resort and place of abode for the 
Indians, as it was always on high ground above the reach of 
any flood. It was here they had their permanent village and 
fields which were still visible when the white settlers came to 
the place. It was here they had their council houses and 
where all the surrounding tribes assembled many times dur- 
ing the year when they returned from the chase or forage. 
And such a place, where so many of the Indians could be 
easily found, it is contrary to reason to suppose that such a 
.zealous missionary as Father Marquette would fail to visit 
when he was in the Wabash country. 

I wish to locate Father Marquette at the site of Vincennes, 
as it will fix the probable date of his visit. It is well known 
that he left the Jesuit mission at Kaskaskia a sick and worn- 
out man in consequence of his labors and exposure, to return 
to St. Ignace, a few days after Easter, 167 5. On this, his 
final trip, he travelled by way of the St. Joseph portage. He 
died May 18, 1675, ascending the eastern shore of Lake Mich- 

66 A History op Vincennes. 

igan, and was buried in the sands of the lake shore before he 
reached his destination. Therefore he must have visited the 
site of Vincennes, if at all, prior to 1675, and in all proba- 
bility about 1G60. I have endeavored to locate Father Mar- 
quette here, as he is a well-known historic character. 

However it may be whether Father Marquette was ever at 
the site of Vincennes, it is certain beyond a reasonable 
doubt that some Jesuit missionary had been here prior to 
1700. They had accomplished wonderful results in convert- 
ing the Indians that inhabited the country about the present 
site of Vincennes. The records of St. Francis Xavier Church, 
as preserved (I use the words "as preserved" as Bishop Brute 
used them whenever he referred to these records) show from 
April, 1719, for half a century after the greater part of the 
entries of baptisms, marriages and funerals were of Indian 
converts. This vast number of Indian converts to the faith 
as evidenced by these records as preserved show that the work 
of the missionaries, while fruitful of good, was not the work 
of a day or month, but of many years. The untamed savages 
of the forest could not be converted to Christianity at short 
notice. The labors of the missionaries were not only slow, 
but dangerous. In this connection Judge Law in his address 
delivered on February 22, 1838, says : 

"It was not only toil of hunger and cold that the Jesuit 
missionaries of the cross were called upon to endure, but 
many, very many were tomahawked, or what was far worse,, 
burned at the stake. No sooner was it known that their pre- 
decessors had perished at the stake or by the scalping knife 
than new recruits offered their services to fill their places.. 
In fact a mission among the Indians was a labor of love to 
these heralds of the cross." 

From the statements already made it seems clear that the 
site of Vincennes had been visited by white men long before 
1700, and probably as early as 1660. But these visits of civ- 

Antiquities. 07 

ilized men were made in some eases for purposes of trade and 
traffic with the Indians, or by Jesuit missionaries for the pur- 
pose of spreading the true faith among the Indian tribes. 
And these early visits cannot be referred to as the date of the 
actual founding and permanent settlement of Vmcennes. 
But there are other evidences more tangible and reliable thai 
will throw much light on the subject to which I shall now 
refer, and which fixes the true date of its founding about 

When the Ind'ana Territory was organized in 1800 and the 
capital of the Territory fixed at Vincennes, it at once became 
a centre of interest and attracted the cream of the energetic, 
aspiring and cultivated men from all the older States of the 
Union. Vincennes was a prominent point in the west before 
1800, and many eminent men came and settled here as early 
as 1780. But the organization of the territory gave fresh im- 
pulse and prominence to the place and greatly accelerated its 
increase in population and wealth. John Law, Elihu Stout, 
John Ewing and Samuel Judah and other prominent citizens 
who came and located here between 1800 and 1820 asserted 
that the population of the place by 1820 was as great as it is 
today. But the loss of the capital and the dreadful epidemic 
of 1820 that visited the place that year discouraged and terri- 
fied the citizens and depopulated the place, and for years re- 
tarded its growth. 

The many educated and distinguished men who came and 
located at Vincennes when the territory was organized, took 
a deep interest in everything calculated to promote and ad- 
vance the prosperity of the place. In the early days of the 
territorial government, and before 1809, they procured the 
passage by the territorial legislature of many incorporations 
with this object in view. Among these incorporations I will 
enumerate the following three : The Vincennes University, 
The Vincennes Library, and The Vincennes Historical and 

68 A History of Vincennes. 

Antiquarian Society. The object of the last named corpora- 
tion, as its name implies, was to investige and establish au- 
thentic evidence concerning the early history of the place. 
Among the many distinguished men who were members of the 
Vincennes Historical and Antiquarian Society I will enumer- 
ate the following: William Henry Harrison, John Gibson, 
Waller Taylor, Nathaniel Ewing, John Badollet, Elihu 
Stout, Moses Tabbs, Isaac Blackford, Thomas Eandolph, 
John Law, John Ewing, Benjamin Parke, George Eodgers 
Clark Sullivan, Samuel Judah and many others equally dis- 
tinguished. Nearly all of these distinguished men came here 
about the year 1800. They found when they came old set- 
tlers who had been connected with the place for periods rang- 
ing from twenty-five to seventy-five years before 1800. And 
these old people had knoAvledge of the place from those who 
had been living here before them extending back to a period 
prior to 1700. Among these old people I will enumerate 
Francis Vigo Laurent Bazadone, Angeline Burdalow, Paul 
Gamelin, John Rice Jones and General W. Johnson. 

One of the first subjects that occupied the attention of the 
Vincennes Historical and Antiquarian Society was fixing the 
date when Vincennes was settled by the French. Before 1820 
the date of the settlement of Vincennes by the French was 
fixed by the Vincennes Historical and Antiquarian Society 
at the year 1680. Here the matter quietly rested until the ad- 
vent of Bishop Brute in 1834. He found in the church li- 
brary connected with St. Francis Xavier church registers 
and many manuscript documents which had been neglected, 
as no one had before him been inclined to burn the midnight 
oil in looking them over, page by page, the only way to ob- 
tain the valuable historic information they contained, as they 
were not indexed, but a confused mass. But Bishop Brute 
did this. He furnished the public, from time to time, 
through the columns of the Western Sun newspaper the re- 

Antiquities. 69 

suits of this investigation. He was a studious, careful and 
truthful man, and made no statement unless fully sustained 
by authority in making it, and which can be relied on as cot 
rect. He stated that he had found evidence in the church 
records here and in the records of the Mission of St. Louis of 
Peoria, and the Church of the Immaculate Conception of 
the Virgin Mary at Kaskaskia, Illinois, and the recorder's 
office there, that both the town of Yincennes (not then known 
b}' that name), and the Church of St. Francis Xavier here 
were both in existence as early as 1708, and perhaps earlier. 
And in one of his last communications published in the 
Western Sun he says he will continue the search, and if any- 
thing additional is found indicating an earlier date he will 
communicate it to the public. But his investigations were 
unfortunately terminated by his death in June, 1839. In 
this connection I will remark that in 1835 Bishop Brute, to 
familiarize himself with the wants of his immense diocese, 
embracing all of Indiana and Illinois, made a pastoral visit 
in person, travelling on horseback, to all the missionary sta- 
tions in that vast territory and carefully examined the church 
records they contained. He made a detailed report of this 
pastoral visit through his diocese in his own happy manner 
to the Leopoldine Association in France in return for assist- 
ance lent him to build up his diocese, a great part of which 
report is inserted in Father Allerding's (now bishop of Fort 
Wayne, Indiana) History of the Diocese of Vincennes. 

The communications of Bishop Brute on the subject of the 
early settlement of Yincennes published in the Western Sun 
revived interest in the question and the Yincennes Historical 
and Antiquarian Society again considered it. John Law, at 
the request of this society, delivered his celebrated address on 
February 22, 1839, when the question was under discussion 
by this society for the second time. Upon this reconsidera- 
tion that society before 1840, settled upon 1683 as the date 

70 A History of Vincennes. 

of the settlement of Vincennes by the French. This decision 
of that society was generally accepted by the citizens of Vin- 
cennes as conclusive of the question, and it became a common 
saying, as I well remember, and as many old citizens of Vin- 
cennes now living also remember, that Vincennes was settled 
the y°,ar after Philadelphia. It is well known as a historic 
fact that Philadelphia was settled in 1682. 

Were these men qualified and competent to examine, adju- 
dicate and determine this question? It is sure they were far 
better qualified than persons living at a distance who have 
written upon and expressed opinions as to the true date of 
the settlement of A r incennes. To illustrate this I will only 
refer to three members of the Vincennes .Historical and An- 
tiquarian Society, and the peculiar opportunities they pos- 
sessed of examining and passing a. reliable judgment upon the 
question. These three members are Nathaniel Ewing, John 
Badollet and Elihu Stout. The two first came to Vincennes 
almost with the advent of the territorial government in 1800. 
The first as receiver of public monies, and the second as the 
register of the United States land office in this land district. 
The third came a little later in the spring of 1804. They 
were all members of that society and took an active part in 
the discussion of the question. Messrs. Ewing and Badollet 
were the equals intellectually of any of the able men who 
came to Vincennes in territorial days. They all located here 
permanently and died and were buried here. They all pos- 
sessed superior advantages for examining and determining 
this question above others from the very nature of their sev- 
eral employments. Elihu Stout published the first newspaper 
in the Northwest Territory at this place, commencing on July 
4, 1804, and continuing its publication until the fall of 1845, 
and from the nature of his business came in contact with the 
people generally and ascertained their views upon all public 
questions. Messrs. Ewing and Badollet constituted the board 

Antiquities. 71 

of commissioners appointed by the Federal Government to 
examine and adjust land titles founded upon the grants of 
land to the early French settlers from the different com- 
mandants of the post while the country was under the juris- 
diction of France, and which grants had been secured to the 
several grantees by treaty stipulations and acts of Congress. 
These commissioners held their sessions at Vincennes from 
1804 to 1810, and examined and passed upon these old French 
land grants reaching back to the first settlement of Vincennes 
by the French. And as there was no record or documentary 
evidence of these old French grants, the commissioners were 
compelled to hear oral testimony to establish them. This nec- 
essarily brought them in close contact in their official capacity 
with the old French settlers who could give testimony con- 
cerning these French land grants extending back in many 
cases to the first settlement of Vincennes by the French. 

These were the men who took an active part in the discus- 
sion of the question as to the date of the settlement of Vin- 
cennes by the French, and who finally fixed the date of settle- 
ment at 1683. Messrs Ewing and Badollet were perhaps bet- 
ter qualified to determine this question than any other per- 
sons from the very nature of their employment in tracing 
back matters to the very beginning. Is not more reliance and 
confidence due and should be given in determining this ques- 
tion to the opinions and conclusions of men who lived and 
died in Vincennes and were actually a part of its history than 
upon the mere dicta and opinions of men who never lived 
here, nor visited the place, or who were here only for a few 
days, and with these crude and imperfect impressions thus 
obtained in hasty visits went off and published books purport- 
ing to give facts? Count Volney, the celebrated traveller, 
who was here in 1796 for a few days only, states in the history 
of his travels that the place was settled by the French in 1735. 
David Thomas, who was here at a much later date, and for a 

72 A History op Vincennes. 

few days only, follows in his wake and gives the erroneous 
date given by Count Volney. Monette, Flint and Scott, who 
have all given an opinion on the subject of the date of the 
settlement of Vincennes by the French were never here so far 
as I know, and derived their information from second-hand 
sources upon which they based their opinions and conclusions. 
John B. Dillon, who published a book purporting to be a his- 
tory of Indiana, on the question of the date of the settlement 
of Vincennes by the French, cannot be regarded as any au- 
thority on the subject against the combined opinions of such 
men as I have referred to. 

It is matter of sincere regret that the Vincennes Historical 
and Antiquarian Society was permitted to perish for want of 
appreciation and support. The valuable collection of im- 
portant physical specimens contained in its museum, and its 
documents and records were suffered to be carried off and 
scattered, and are not now for the greater part in existence, 
or at least are not accessible to the public. 

But there are other evidences bearing on the subject of the 
date of the settlement of Vincennes by the French to which I 
will now refer. It is recorded in the Quebec annals that 
Francois Morganne de Vincenne, an officer in the service of 
the King of France, was commissioned for the purpose and 
started from Detroit in the early spring of 1702 with French 
troops to build three forts. One was to be built at the junc- 
tion of the St. Mary's and St. Joseph rivers, where they form 
the Maumee river, where the city of Fort Wayne now stands. 
The second was to be built on the Wabash river on the Weeo 
plains, about seven miles below the site of the present city of 
Lafayette. The third was to be built on the "Colline gravois."* 
on the Wabash river, the site of the present city of Vincennes. 
The Quebec annals also state that he came to this place on 
that mission and actually built a fort in the fall of 1702. He 
was accompanied according to the annals by a Jesuit mission- 

Antiquities. 73 

ary, who offered up the Holy Sacrifice of the mass on the bank 
of the Wabash river in the open air near where the fort was to 
be built in the presence of the troops who came to build the 
fort and many Indians. If the Quebec annals are reliable 
and satisfactory authority then the evidence of the actual 
founding of Vincennes may be regarded as conclusive. 

But it has been claimed by some, on what authority I do 
not know, that the Quebec annals are not in all cases accurate 
and reliable in fixing the dates of the happening of events. 
This may be true in some cases, especially concerning some of 
the Jesuit missions in the wilderness of the West. This in- 
accuracy in some instances results from the fact that many of 
these missions were 2,500 miles distant from the place where 
the annals were compiled and published. This inaccuracy 
results also, if there is found any inaccuracy which I do not 
admit from the great distance of some of the missions from 
Quebec where they were published, the uncertain and difficult 
mode of communication between them and the lapse of time 
after the happening of the events related and their communi- 
cation to the mother house of the Jesuit order and before the 
information was received and the record made and published. 
But in no instance can it be shown that the events related did 
not actually happen and the date assigned, if inaccurate in any 
case which I deny, is more apt to be too recent rather than too 
remote. The Quebec annals state that the French came here 
in 1702 and built a fort, which actually remained standing to 
a period within the recollection of persons living in Vincennes 
at the present time. If it cannot be shown that this fact re- 
cited in the Quebec annals is not correct then I hold the Que- 
bec annals should definitely settle the question if there is any 
question about the matter. 

The writer has not personally inspected the Quebec annals 
and makes the above statement of their contents on the au- 
thority of Bishop Brute, Bishop Hailandiere, Father Aller- 

74 A History of Vincennes. 

ding in his history and Edmund Mallet of the Carroll Insti- 
tute at Washington City, D. C. 

What are the Quebec annals? They comprise 72 volumes, 
printed by the Jesuit Fathers at Quebec, containing the rela- 
tions and transactions of the Jesuit missionaries in the dif- 
ferent missions of the Jesuit order in the Northwest. They 
commence in the year 1610 and continue to the year 1780, 
when the Jesuit order was suppressed. They are either in the 
French, Latin or Italian languages according to the national- 
ity of the missionary who wrote them. Twenty of these vol- 
umes are now in the library connected with St. Francis 
Xavier Church of this city. But unfortunately they do not 
go back to the date of the settlement of Vincennes. These 
annals were not until very recently within reach of the gen- 
eral student. It is certain these annals contain the most re- 
liable historic information concerning discoveries and settle- 
ments in the Northwest Territory. So important is the his- 
torical knowledge contained in these annals that the Histor- 
ical Society of Wisconsin which has done so much to deter- 
mine historic events in the west when the celebrated historian, 
Lyman C. Draper, was secretary of that society determined in 
1894 to have the Quebec annals translated and published in 
the English language. This herculean task was immediately 
commenced by a competent force of translators and prose- 
cuted until the work was completed, and the important his- 
toric information contained in the annals brought within 
reach of the general student. The writer endeavored to pro- 
cure a copy of this translation covering the period of the 
early settlement of Vincennes, but could not procure them, as 
no broken volumes would be sold, but the entire set must be 
taken. An effort was then made to have those important vol- 
umes purchased and placed in the city library, but the effort 
failed and these important works were not secured for the 
city library, but their places have been filled with useless 

Antiquities. 75 

works of fiction of no real value. This action was akin to 
that want of foresight which permitted the Harrison mansion 
to pass into private hands instead of being purchased for a 
public museum and library for the use of the city, as it was 
from 1812 to 1832, when occupied by John Cleves Symmes 
Harrison, a son of General Harrison. 

The work of translating and publishing in the English lan- 
guage has just been completed. The English edition was 
published by Burrows Bros., publishers of Cleveland, 0., un- 
der the title of "The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents 
Containing the Travels and Explorations of the Jesuit Mis- 
sionaries in New France from 1610 to 179 1." The work is 
edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites, the present secretary of the 
Wisconsin Historical Society. In the conclusion of the 72nd 
and last volume he writes as follows : 

"The editors decided to go to the sources never depending 
-on a printed version when ever the original manuscript could 
be obtained, thereby elminating so far as might be the changes 
introduced by such earlier copyists and reprinters as had 
taken more or less liberties with the text. Approaching the 
task with no conscious prejudices of race or religion, it has 
been the sole desire of the editor impartially to collect, pre- 
serve and annotate the great body of documents having so im- 
portant a bearing upon the foundations of American history." 

The 72nd and last volume of these relations has just been 
issued from the press of Burrows Bros., of Cleveland, 0., the 
present year. 

But there are other and abundant evidence of equal au- 
thenticity and credibility upon the subject of the settlement 
of Virjcennes by the French to which I will now refer. There 
is abundant and conclusive evidence in the writings of Bishop 
Brute that the French built a fort and made a permanent set- 
tlement here about the beginning of the year 1700. In a 

76 A History of Vincennes. 

communication published in the Western Sun newspaper of 
Saturday, April 27, 1839, he states: 

"We find that Father John Mermet came from Quebec to 
St. Louis of Peoria in 1708 on his way to the post on the 
'Ouabasche.' " 

The Mission of St. Louis of Peoria referred to by the 
Bishop was situated on what was then called Lake Peoria, 
but which in fact was only an expansion of the Illinois River 
where the city of Peoria in Illinois, is now located. This was 
one of the Jesuit missionary stations which Bishop Brute vis- 
ited and examined its church records on his pastoral visit in 
1835. This Father Mermet is no myth, but on the contrary a 
well-known historic character. He remained at this place as 
a missionary priest from the time he came in 1708 until the 
latter part of November, 1712, when he returned to Kas- 
kaskai, where he remained until his death in 1728, and was 
buried there in the church of the Immaculate Conception. 
He left writings which Bishop Brute personally inspected on 
his visit to Kaskaskia in 1835, and which conclusively show 
that Father Mermet was here in 1708. From his writings 
Bishop Brute made an extract which he published in the 
Western Sun of Saturday, April 27, 1839, as follows : 

"An epidemic desolated the village in 1708, and the In- 
dians died in great numbers. The jugglers kept up their de- 
lusions. They ordered a great sacrifice of their dogs. Forty 
of these poor animals, innocent as they were of the cause of 
the epidemic, to satisfy their manitoes, were immolated and 
carried on poles in a solemn procession around the fort. 
Realize, if you can in mind, the wretched procession on one 
side led on by these fanatical jugglers, and the gaze of the 
soldiers and their officers, of the traders and the whole popu- 
lation of the village at that time listening to the loud appeals 
of the Indians." 

This unquestioned evidence of Father Mermet shows con- 

Antiquities. 77 

clusively that the fort and village were here in 1708. It 
shows also that he was the resident priest or missionary here 
in 1708. 

But there is other and very sufficient evidence to corrob- 
orate the statement of Father Mermet. Father Gabriel 
Marest, missionary of the Society of Jesus, stationed at Kas- 
kaskai, from a date as early as 1700, until long after 1725, 
conclusively corroborates the fact that Father Mermet was 
sent here as a missionary some time before 1712, but the pre- 
cise date when he was sent is not given. The Mission of the 
Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin atKaskaskia, 
111., was the principal mission and headquarters of the Jesuits 
in the Northwest Territory. From a letter written by him, 
dated at Kaskaskia, November 9, 1712, and addressed to 
Father German General of the Jesuit Order in Paris, France 
we quote as follows : 

"The French having lately established a fort on the river 
"Onabasche," demanded a priest or missionary, and Father 
John Mermet was sent to them." 

This latter is inserted in a historic work of undoubted re- 
liability published in Paris, France, in the year 1761. It is 
inserted in that historic work on page 325 thereof. It will be 
observed that the letter does not give the precise date when 
the French built or established a fort on the "Ouabasche," but 
it must have been some years before November 9, 1712, the 
date of the letter, for the French inhabitants to have so in- 
creased in numbers at that early date to have merited and 
demanded the services of a missionary. 

In the year 1837 an old oak tree standing on the west bank 
of the Wabash River in Vermillion county, Indiana, near the 
town of Eugene, was felled. An axe of French manufacture 
was found embedded in the tree. The annual growths around 
the axe were counted by persons skilled in matter of that kind 
and it was found that the annual growths around the axe in- 

78 A History of Vincennes. 

dicatecl that it had been inserted in the tree at a period pos- 
sibly as early as 1700, and certainly not later than 1705. The 
difficulty in fixing the exact date when the axe was inserted 
was in consequence of the blending of the growths around the 
axe where the wound was inflicted on the tree. On this ac- 
count the blending and confusion of growths the exact date 
of its insertion could not be determined with greater precis- 
ion than between the year 1700 and 1705. One hundred and 
twenty-seven growths were distinct, and a number immediate- 
ly around the axe confused. It was stated at the time the axe 
was found that it had been inserted in the tree by some Jesuit 
missionary on his lonely journey through the wilderness. 
But this could not be in the nature of things as it is well 
known that the Jesuit missionaries among the Indians of the 
Northwest never carried axes or weapons of any kind. They 
only carried crosses on their lonely pilgrimage through the 
wilderness. Neither could it have been inserted by one of a 
small party who carried few axes, as its loss would have been 
noticed and the implement recovered. It was inserted by one 
of a large party, and its loss was not noticed on account of the 
large number they carried. It is reasonable to suppose this 
axe was inserted in that oak tree by one of the men accom- 
panying de Vincenne on his way down the Wabash Eiver to 
this place in the fall of 1702 to build the fort here. And I 
claim, with reason, that this is a natural record aiding and 
contributing by its silent and unimpeachable testimony in 
fixing the date of the building of the fort here, and the actual 
founding of Vincennes about the year 1700. 

Clark's Kaskaskia Campaign. 79 


clark's kaskaskia campaign. 

The inhabitants in the Northwest at the time of its acqui- 
sition by Great Britain in 1763, were almost, if not exclu- 
sively, French people or the descendants of French, and were 
all animated by that common race prejudice that then ex- 
isted and still exists between the English and French people. 
They were not reconciled to the change of ruler and always 
regretted that by the terms of the treaty of Paris this promis- 
ing and rich country had been wrested from their beloved 
France. This race prejudice is well known to exist among all 
peoples of different nationalities and can never be oblit- 
erated, and is still active and potent after the lapse of 
centuries. As an illustration, take the Irish race, 
and it is Avell known that a bitter hatred exists 
between the Celt and the Anglo Saxon. Show me an Irish 
Catholic in any quarter of the habitable globe, whether be- 
neath the burning rays of a tropical sun, or the frozen regions 
of the North, and I will at the same time show you a bitter 
and determined foe of the British government. This hatred 
has been engendered by the centuries of injustice and oppres- 
sion that relentless power has inflicted upon their native 
isle. They are ever ready to seize upon any occasion to raise 
their hand against the oppressor. During the Revolutionary 
War it filled the roster of officers and the ranks of the revo- 
lutionary soldiery with Irishmen. Among the forces under 
George Rogers Clark, that took part in the capture of Kaskas- 
kia, there were many Irishmen, and found there in conse- 
quence of this race prejudice. Of the 150 men that are said 
to have composed his force when he started upon his Kaskas- 

80 A History of Vincennes. 

Ida campaign, the following were Irishmen, either by birth 
or descent: Lieutenant-Colonel John Montgomery, Major 
Thomas Quick, Captain Eichard McCarty, John Rodgers, 
John Williams, Lieutenant Valentine Dalton, James Mont- 
gomery, James Robertson, Lawrence Slaughter, John Swann, 
Sergeants John Brand, James Brown, Michael Miles, John 
Moore, John O'Rear, Robert Patterson, John Vaughan, John 
Williams, Privates John Ash, Thomas Batten, William Bell, 
James Bigger, John Bayle, James Bryant, Edward Bulger, 
Nicholas Burke, John Campbell, Andrew Conore, Thomas 
Clifton, Dennis Chohern, Cornelius Copelancl, John Cowan, 
James Curry, Robert Davis, Frederick Doherty, Neal Doh- 
erty, Patrick Dorn, John Duff, Edward Fear, Samuel Finley, 
James Finley, James Finn, John McFlanagan, Michael Glass, 
David Glenn, Francis Godfrey, John Green, John Grimes, 
William Gwin, Silas Harland, Hugh Henry, Barney Higgins, 
John Hughes, Edward Johnson, Mathew Jones, John Jaynes, 
William Learne, Richard Lutterell, John Lyons, Joseph 
Lyons, Isaac McBride, Francis McDermott, David McDonald, 
John McGann, Alexander Mclntyre, George McManus, John 
McMamus, John McManus, Jr., Samuel McMillen, James 
McNutt, Francis Mahoney, Patrick Marr, Charles Martin, 
John Montgomery, John Moore, Thomas Moore, John 
Murphy, Edward Murray, Peter Newton, Michael O'Hara, 
Daniel O'Bear, Peter Preist, William Parcell, William Slack, 
Francis Spellman, John Talley, Joseph Thornton, Daniel 
Tiger, Barney Whallen and Dominique Welch. 

And what, was it that induced Marquie de La Fayette 
Count de Grasse and Count de Rochambeau to come and take 
part in our revolution ? It was not for any love of liberty, as 
we understand, and use that word. The two latter were offi- 
cers in the service of the King of France, long before and long 
afterwards. It was a desire to aid their own country. It was 
a military stratagem to attack the English as it were in the 

Clark's Kaskaskia Campaign. 81 

rear by aiding her revolted colonies, and thus effect her dis- 
memberment and weakening of that power. And all this was 
brought about by race prejudice. By this, I do not wish to 
detract in the least, from the debt of gratitude we owe these 
men, and all others who rendered our country assistance in 
time of need. I only go beneath the outward surface of things 
and indicate the controlling motives that prompted their 

The idea that originated the military movement against 
Kaskaskia was based upon the race prejudice, known to exist 
between the French and English. It was known to the au- 
thorities of Virginia that all the inhabitants of Kaskaskia 
were Frenchmen, either by birth or descent. It was also 
equally known that they all chafed under Britsh domination 
and would be willing at any favorable opportunity to throw it 
off. This knowledge justified the authorities of Virginia in 
making the attempt. It could not be supposed that any force 
Virginia could send at that time against Kaskaskia, if met 
with active opposition, would be crowned with success. The 
condition of affairs at Kaskaskia may have been obtained from 
some of the French officers in the American army. There can 
be no doubt in the mind of an intelligent man that the Vir- 
ginia authorities obtained it from some source before they 
countenanced and authorized the expedition against Kaskas- 
kia. Otherwise the project in view of the fact that the state was 
involved in a death struggle at home, would have been fool- 
hardy and ridiculous. And this debt of gratitude or moral 
obligation which the American people were under to the 
"French and Canadian inhabitants and other settlers of the 
Kaskaskia,, St. Vincents and the neighboring villages" of the 
territory northwest of the Ohio River for their throwing off 
the allegiance of Great Britain and acknowledging themselves 
citizens of Virginia at the bare request of Col. Clarke, with- 
out offering any resistance, was tacitly acknowledged by the 

82 A History op Vincennes. 

Federal Government upon acquiring the territory from Vir- 
ginia in 1783. 

It will be remembered that the territory northwest of the 
Ohio Kiver was acquired by the State of Virginia by her 
troops under Col. Clarke, acting under the commission of 
Patrick Henry, the Governor of Virginia, Kaskaskia in July, 
1778, and St. Vincents in February, 1779. This was during 
the Bevolutionary War and before the independence of the 
American colonies had been acknowledged by Great Britain. 
The United States by their act of September 6th, 1780, rec- 
ommended to the several states having claims to waste and 
unapprojDriatecl lands in the western country, "to make a lib- 
eral cession of such lands to the United States for the com- 
mon benefit of the Union." The State of Virginia in ac- 
cordance with said recommendation of Congress, did by her 
act passed on the 2d day of January, 1781, agree to the rec- 
ommendation of Congress subject to the following conditions, 
viz: 1st, that the territory so ceded should be divided into 
states and admitted into the Union on the same footing as the 
original states ; 2d, that the expenses of Virginia in acquiring 
said territory should be paid to her by the United States ; 3d, 
"that the French and Canadian inhabitants and other settlers 
of the Kaskaskia, St. Vincents and neighboring villages, 
who professed themselves citizens of Virginia, should have 
their possessions and titles confirmed to them." 

It is further known that the United States by the act of 
September, 1783, acceded to these conditions. It is further 
known that the State of Virginia subsequently by an act of 
her legislature in 1783, authorized her delegates in Congress 
to cede and transfer to the United States her landed posses- 
sions northwest of the Ohio Eiver, and that by the authority 
of said act, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Hardy, Arthur Lee 
and James Monroe, the delegates in Congress from the State 

Clark's Kaskaskia Campaign. 83 

of Virginia, on the 1st day of March, 1784, conveyed said ter- 
ritory to the United States by deed of that date. 

It is thus apparent by the mere recital of legislative and 
historical facts that the only obligation resting upon the 
United States in consideration of said cession, was that e 'the 
French and Canadian inhabitants and other settlers of the 
Kaskaskia , St. Vincents and the neighboring villages who 
had professed themselves citizens of Virginia, should have 
their possessions and titles confirmed to them." There was 
no condition or obligation whatever that the United States 
should make such inhabitants any additional grants of land, 
but simply to confirm to them such lands and titles as they 
already possessed. In discharge of the obligation thus im- 
posed upon the United States a commission was appointed by 
the United States to investigate and determine what lands 
and titles said inhabitants possessed and when ascertained by 
said commission which sat and held session at Vincennes from 
1804 to 1810, the said lands were confirmed to them by Con- 
gress. But it is well known the United States did more than 
the condition and obligation imposed by the act of Virginia 
required to be done. By resolution of Congress, passed Aug. 
29/1788, and the act of Congress of March 3d, 1791, it was 
provided that 400 acres of land should be donated to every 
head of a family at Post Vincennes and Kaskaskia, at and 
prior to 1783, the date of the acquisition of the territory by 
the United States from Virginia. And this grant of 400 
acres of land applied to every head of a family who had ever 
been at Post Vincennes or the Kaskaskias at any time prior to 
1783, whether they remained such inhabitants or had left the 
territory. To provide for filling this voluntary grant, a tract 
of land in Knox County, Indiana, ten miles square, was sur- 
veyed and divided into 400 acre lots for this purpose. And 
such original tract not being sufficient to supply all such in- 
habitants as was subsequently ascertained, two additional do- 

84 A History op Vincennes. 

nation tracts were surveyed and set apart for such purpose 
so that all of such inhabitants as aforesaid, should receive a 
400 acre tract of land or their heirs or assigns. This grant 
of 400 acres of land was in addition to any obligation resting 
upon the United States by virtue of the cession from Virgina, 
and was a voluntary offering or gift to such inhabitants and 
was given them as a free will offering to reward them for 
their promptly espousing the cause of the American colonies 
and discarding all allegiance to Great Britain, upon the sim- 
ple request of Col. Clarke, without firing a gun or showing the 
slightest resistance. 

The town of Kaskaskia was the oldest of the settlements of 
the French in the northwest. It was the most populous set- 
tlement containing probably 3,500 population, was well forti- 
fied and supplied with cannon, small arms and munitions of 
war and defended by a strong garrison. But without excep- 
tion they were all French people. Governor John Eeynolds 
in his pioneer history of Illinois, referring to Kaskaskia at 
the date of Clarke's arrival there in July, 1778, says: 

"Kaskaskia was to Illnois then what Paris is at this day 
to France. Both were in their respective days the great em- 
poriums of fashion, gaiety and happiness. Kaskaskia was for 
many years the largest town west of the Allegheny mountains. 
It was a tolerable place before Pittsburg or Cincinnati had 
any existence." 

But Kaskaskia since that period has gone back until it is 
not now a station for a postoffice. For many years afterwards 
Kaskaskia continued to be the most populous and important 
town in Illinois. It was the first capital of the territory and 
state and remained such until 1820, when it was removed to 
Vandalia. But it still maintained its prominence and all the 
printing of the state, even for years after the removal of the 
capital to Vandalia in 1820, was done at Kaskaskia. The first 
term of the Supreme Court of Illinois was held at Vandalia 

Clark's Kaskaskia Campaign. 85 

in December, 1820. but the first volume of its reports, by Sid- 
ney Breese, was published in November, 1831, at Kaskaskia. 
Yet it was such a town and fortress that Col. George Rogers 
Clarke, with only 150 men, captured in the short space of a 
few hours, before Rochblave, the British commander, had 
risen from his bed, without firing a gun or losing a man. 
When Col. Clarke's force arrived before Kaskaskia they had 
been since leaving the falls of the Ohio, on the go for eleven 
clays, seven of which had been spent marching through a 
desert country. They were without cannon, horses or any 
provisions, except what they carried. They were hungry and 
footsore. Would it not seem incredible that such a force 
could capture such a place as Kaskaskia is represented to have 
been at that time, without some cause, except brute force, 
operating in their favor, that made it possible. Such a cause 
did operate in his favor and Col. Clarke knew it would oper- 
ate. He knew from two men from Kaskaskia, he met on his 
overland march to that place, that the race prejudice between 
the French and English, would operate in his favor. He knew 
the inhabitants of Kaskaskia were all French people and hos- 
tile to the British and ready to throw off the yoke at any fa- 
vorable opportunity. 

It is a well known fact from the journal of Major Bowman, 
an officer in Clarke's command, that the supplies and men 
authorized to be furnished him by Virginia, were owing to 
many causes and difficulties never actually furnished. On ac- 
count of this failure the prospects of a successful issue of the 
campaign before starting from the falls of the Ohio, were 
anything but encouraging. It was thought for a time it 
would be abandoned altogether. But Gen. Clarke was a man 
of undoubted courage and determination and relying upon the 
race prejudice that was known to exist he determined to make 
the attempt with the small force he had gathered. 

He started from the falls of the Ohio River on his way to 

86 A History op Vincennes. 

Kaskaskia on June 28th, 1778. That Kaskaskia was the ob- 
jective point of his expedition is clear from the commission of 
Gov. Henry from which we extract as follows : 

"You are to proceed with all convenient speed to raise seven 
companies of soldiers to consist of fifty men each, officered in 
the usual manner and armed most properly for the enterprise, 
and with this force attack the British post at Kaskaskia. It 
is conjectured there are many pieces of cannon and military 
stores in considerable amount at that place, the taking and 
preservation of which, would be a valuable acquisition to the 
state. * * * If the inhabitants at the post will give evi- 
dence of their attachment to this state, let them be treated as 
fellow citizens and their persons and property duly secured. 
Assistance and protection against all enemies, whatever shall 
be afforded them, and the Commonwealth of Virginia is 
pledged to accomplish it." 

This objective point of the expedition is also manifest from 
the journal of Major Bowman, who does not mention or hint 
any other ulterior point being in contemplation. The force 
of Col. Clarke proceeded down the Ohio Eiver in boats to a 
point a few miles below the mouth of the Tennessee River. 
There the boats were abandoned and a march overland to Kas- 
kaskia was begun. The route of this march was over a desert 
country with no road and no convenience to cheer them on 
the way. They only carried muskets and such provisions as 
the}'' could carry on their back. After a tedious march of 
seven days through this wilderness, they arrived weary a nd 
worn out before Kaskaskia, on the 3rd of July, 1778. Kaskas- 
kia was situated on the opposite bank of the river and the 
journal of Major Bowman says their advance was discovered 
from the town. Gen. Clarke crossed the river the next day, 
July 4th, 1778, and appeared before the fortified town of 

In accounts originating from Gen. Clarke and his com- 

Clark's Kaskaskia Campaign. 87 

mand, it is stated .that when his small force appeared before 
the walls of the town of Kaskaskia, from indications ob- 
served, they feared they would meet with resistance, but a 
Catholic priest opened the gates of the fort and approached 
Gen. Clarke and had an interview with him. This priest w.s 
undoubtedly Pierre Gibanlt, the patriot priest of the West. 

It was quite natural that seeing an armed force of strangers 
approaching the place that the inhabitants should wish to be 
advised of the cause and object of their coming. It is also 
stated that this priest and Gen. Clarke had an interview. It 
is fair to presume that in this interview Gen. Clarke informed 
this priest of their object and intentions, and that they would 
be protected in their persons, property and religion. This 
priest, if the surmise is correct, was already enlisted against 
the English cause, returned to the fort and advised the admit- 
tance of the strangers, and soon after the gates were opened 
and Gen. Clarke entered the fortified town and the bloodless 
capture of Kaskaskia was accomplished without firing a gun 
or loosing a man, even before the British commander was 
aware of the fact. 

It is fair to conclude that it all happened as stated and that 
the above is a true account of the case. In after years it be- 
came necessary to magnify the achievement for the purpose 
of self aggrandizement and to stimulate rewards and land 
grants. In reading some accounts of this remarkable achieve- 
ment, the intelligent reader is led to recall the wonderful and 
Don Quixotic performances of Sir John Falstaff, as related by 
that master and thorough probe of human nature, and espec- 
ially of Anglo-Saxon braggadocio, William Shakespeare. 

Hon. William H. English in vol. 1 on page 171 of his work, 
quotes Major Bowman, an officer in Clarke's command, who 
was writing concerning Kaskaskia at the time of its capture 
by Clark, as using this strong and forcible language : 


88 A History op Vincennes. 

"Kaskaskia was so fortified that it might have resisted a 
thousand men." 

And Governor Eeynolds in his history of the capture of 
Kaskaskia by Gen. Clarke in 1778, says: "Clarke had no 
cannon or means of assaulting the fort and therefore was 
compelled to use strategem." 

This language by learned men concerning the capture of 
Kaskaskia sounds strange in the ears of men acquainted with 
the facts in the case. How could Gen. Clark use strategem 
when his own account states their advance was detected a day 
before the surrender. And how could a bloodless issue have 
been achieved against such a fortified fort? There is no 
question but that Kaskaskia was well fortified at the time and 
supplied with cannon and ammunition. One blast from these 
heavy guns would have scattered the weak and weary forces 
of Gen. Clarke as autumn winds scatter faded leaves from the 
forest trees. 

After gaining possession of Kaskaskia as above stated, Gen. 
Clark sent small detachments from his own small force and 
in succession obtained peaceable possession of Cahokia, Prai- 
rie du Eocher and. all the French villages on the Mississippi 
Eiver in the same bloodless manner. And it is reasonable to 
conclude, and we do conclude, that all these bloodless tri- 
umphs were the result of some influence other than military 
necessity. They all fell into the hands of Gen. Clark as the 
ripe apple falls to the ground from the parent stem. It is 
fair and just we think to attribute these bloodless results to 
the influence of Gibault from the necessary operation of well 
known causes. He had been laboring at all these French set- 
tlements for more than ten years. He was unquestionably the 
ablest man in the entire northwest territory. He labored day 
and night, teaching the children and adults, not only on Sun- 
day but on week days. He was so successful that in about 
six months after his arrival there in September, 1768, he 

Clark's Kaskaskia Campaign. 89 

brought them all back within the fold of the church, and al- 
most the entire population received communion on Easter 
Sunday, 1769. The same thing he accomplished at Cahokia 
and Prairie du Eocher and all the missions on both sides of 
the Mississippi Eiver. He built and blessed the first chapel 
on the site of the present city of St. Louis, when Col. Francis 
Vigo resided there. 

When Gen. Clark had thus obtained possession of Kaskas- 
kia and all the French villages on the Mississippi River, he 
had fully accomplished the objects embraced in his commis- 
sion from Gov. Henry. But he was not to receive his dis- 
' charge. His invaluable services and his undoubted courage, 
were not to be dispensed with. He was to receive a new com- 
mission, not from Gov. Henry, but in all probability from 
Pierre Gibault. It was then for the first time it was heard 
mentioned that the capture of the fort on the Wabash River 
at this place, was to be rmdertaken. It was represented to 
Gen. Clark that the fort here was the real key to the posses- 
sion of the northwest territory. That the capture of Kaskas- 
kia was not so important, as the capture of the fort on the 
Wabash would be, which was in the heart of the northwest 
while Kaskaskia was only an outpost on the frontier and ad- 
joining a foreign, if not a hostile state, ' He therefore urged 
upon Gen. Clark to undertake the capture of the fort on the 
Wabash here. He represented to him how easy it was of ac- 
complishment and how the same conditions on the part of the 
inhabitants in the post here would operate in his favor, as 
they had operated at Kaskaskia. He promised and agreed to 
furnish him additional men and means to render the expedi- 
tion successful. Gen. Clark was convinced and agreed to com- 
mand the expedition and thus was organized at Kaskaskia the 
expedition to capture the fort at Vincennes. The intelligent 
reader of the transaction will come to the conclusion that it 
all happened as stated above. 

90 A History op Vincennes. 



In 1770 there came to Vincennes as the parish priest here 
the Eev. Pierre Gibault. He came to the Northwest from 
Quebec, as the vicar general of the Archbishop of that place. 
He remained here as the parish priest with the exception of 
an interregnum in 1778, when he was expelled by Governor 
Hamilton, until 1789. He was without question the most 
learned and influential man in the Northwest at that early 
day. He had almost unbounded influence over the inhabit- 
ants here who were all French by birth or descent. In the 
winter of 1778 he received information of the pending strug- 
gle of the American colonies against Great Britain for inde- 
pendence. This information had been studiously concealed 
from the inhabitants of the Northwest by the British author- 
ities in Canada. The struggle had been actively in progress 
for upwards of two years before it was known here. There 
were no roads or means of communication with the Atlantic 
from this place at that early day. All information came by 
way of the lake region of the north. When Eev. Pierre 
Gibault heard of this struggle with the natural instincts ani- 
mating every cultured Frenchman he at once decided to join 
the rebellious colonies and cast his lot and influence in their 
favor. In the latter part of the winter of 1778 he announced 
at mass to his parishoners that he wished them to meet him 
at a stated time as he had important information to commun- 
icate to them. That meeting so announced was accordingly 
held. It has been frequently stated this meeting was held in 
the old church here. But it was not held there. All accounts 
we have of this remarkable man and his austere church dis- 

Clark's St. Vincent Campaign. 91 

cipline indicate he would have considered it a desecration to 
hold such a meeting in the church. Besides the church was 
not a suitable place for such a meeting. It was a small struc- 
ture with no windows or openings except a door. It had no 
pews or any floor except the eath. This meeting was held in 
the old fort, which was large and a better place, and was 
then unoccupied. When the meeting so called was assembled 
the Eev. Father Gibault addressed them in French to this 
purport : 

"My Beloved Brethren and Fellow Citizens: 

"I have received authentic and reliable information that 
the American colonies on the Atlantic Ocean have revolted 
and are now at war with England in a struggle for independ- 
ence. This war has now been going on for upwards of two years 
with varying success. We have just received the first account 
of its being waged. The English authorities in Canada have 
studiously kept us in ignorance of the fact, fearing we would 
follow the example of so many of our French brethren arid 
join the colonists and throw off our allegiance to them. This 
is a just struggle of the weak against the strong. It is our 
duty as Frenchmen and lovers of our native land to render all 
the assistance we can to the struggling colonies. Everything 
we do in this way will in reality be done in the interest of our 
French brethren. Therefore I propose that we throw off all 
allegiance to the English nation and declare ourselves citizens 
of the revolted colonies. I propose that you manifest this 
declaration and intention by taking the oath of allegiance to 
the American cause, and if you are agreed I will now admin- 
ister the oath of allegiance to you and will assist in hauling 
•down the English emblem of its sovereignty over this fort.'" 

At the conclusion of this address the entire population of 
the place with one accord agreed to take the oath of allegiance 
to the American cause and asknowledged themselves citizens 

92 A History op Vincennes. 

thereof. The oath of allegiance was thereupon administered 
to them by Father Gibault, and the English flag was hauled 
down over the old fort on the "Onabasche." 

When the British authorities in Canada became aware cf 
these proceedings Governor Henry Hamilton was sent here 
to re-take possession of the old fort. He came and the fort 
being practically unguarded, only Lieutenant Helm and one 
other person with him being in the fort, he had no difficulty 
in gaining possession of it. Father Gibault, in consequence 
of his connection with this affair, incurred the displeasure of 
the English. They could not brook the idea of letting the 
key to the possession of the Northwest pass from their grasp. 
Father Gibault was arrested by Gov. Hamilton and held as 
a prisoner for some time. Finally it was agreed by Gov. 
Hamilton to liberate him if he would leave the place. Father 
Gibault agreed to this and left, and returned to Ivaskaskia. 
This expulsion of Gibault was a year before Gen. Clark came 
in Februar} r , 1779, and was providential and ultimately 
proved a great advantage to the American cause in the revo- 
lutionary War. It placed this able and influential man where 
he could assist in wresting the great Northwest Territory 
from the English. It placed him ver}^ fortunately at Kas- 
kaskia, when Gen. Clark approached that place in July, 1778. 

After he had fully accomplished the task outlined by the 
commission of Governor Henry of Virginia, and secured 
peaceable possession of all the French villages on the Mis- 
sissippi Eiver the project was for the first time broached to 
organize another expedition to capture the old fort here. 
This scheme was suggested, it is safe to assert, by Pierre 
Gibault. No other character of whom any account has reach- 
ed us, was to be found in the entire Northwest possessed of 
the necessary knowledge, influence and ability to plan and 
hope to successfully carry out such an expedition. 

To show that the capture of the fort on the "Ondbasclie" 

Clark's St. Vincent Campaign. 93 

was not within the scope of Clark's original program, it is 
sufficient to remark it was not named in his commission from 
Governor Henry. It was not named by any one in his com- 
mand until after the bloodless capture of Kaskaskia. And in 
addition it may be said that the fort here was not known to 
Gen. Clark or his command until after his capture of Kas- 
kaskia. There was no road or other communications between 
this place and even Kentucky at that early date. If it had 
been within the scope of Gen. Clarke's objective point he could 
have reached this place by a march of only fifty miles from 
the Ohio Kiver, and from here he could have proceeded to 
Kaskaskai by a shorter, better and well known route, than the 
one he took from the Ohio Eiver. 

But upon this point there is no room for doubt or question. 
The capture of the fort here was not in the original plan of 
Clark's campaign. It was suggested and originated at Kas- 
kaskia by Father Gibault, the only man at the time having the 
ability to plan or carry out such a scheme. He represented to 
Gen. Clark the importance of the fort here, the general feel- 
ing of the French inhabitants, and the defenseless condition 
of the fort at the time. He proposed to furnish him addi- 
tional troops from Kaskaskai, and means to carry it forward, 
and also guides to lead the force to this place. He did all 
this. He furnished Gen. Clark two companies of troops, all 
Catholics and all members of his congregation. One of these 
companies under the command of McKay, and the other under 
the command of Francois Charleville. These two companies 
from Kaskaskai came with Gen. Clark and assisted in the 
capture of the fort, and many permanently settled here. He 
enlisted Francis Vigo, a trader at an Indian village upon the 
site of the present city of St. Louis in the enterprise, and in- 
duced him to furnish means to carry it on. Vigo was at the 
time a zealous and devoted Catholic and a member of Father 
Gibault's congregation. 

94 A History of Vincennes. 

Without wishing to. detract in the least from the deserved 
honor dne to the men that actively took part in the capture 
of the fort here, it is due to truth and justice to give honor to 
whom honor is due. There was no man in the country, except 
Pierre Gibault, who could accomplish the above enumerated 
results. Gen. Clark was an entire stranger in the country, 
and could not be expected to have sufficient influence over a 
strange people speaking a different language from his own to 
induce them to enlist voluntarily in a hazardous enterprise 
through his exertions alone. Vigo was an illiterate, but suc- 
cessful trader among the untutored Indians. He could not at 
that time write his own name, and never could do it, except 
mechanically as the parrot learns to say "Pretty Poll." But 
all these plans, purposes and details were within the range of 
accomplishment of Pierre Gribault, and to him the merit of 
success is primarily and principally due. 

In August, 1778, it was determined to send a message to 
Vincennes to apprise the inhabitants of the intended expedi- 
tion. Father Gibault selected as this messenger his confiden- 
tial and trusted friend, John Baptiste Laffont. This messen- 
ger was well known to Father Gibault and a member of his 
congregation. Father Gibault solemnized the marriage of his 
daughter Marie Laffont to Eobert McKay, one of the captains 
appointed to command one of the companies raised at Kaskas- 
kia for the St. Vincent's compaign. Mr. Laffont accordingly 
went to Vincennes on this mission and carried with him a 
commission signed by Gen. Clark, dated at Kaskaskia, August 
15, 1778, appointing Francois Busseron captain of a company 
to be raised at Vincennes. This Francois Busseron was a 
valued friend of Father Gibault and was one of his principal 
advisers and associates while he was at Vincennes, from 1770 
to the date of his expulsion. He was a man of great promi- 
nence and influence in the place and was appointed one of the 
judges of the court by John Todd when he came by authority 

Clark's St. Vincent Campaign. 95 

of Virginia to organize civil government in the Territory in 
1779, and was also appointed one of the judges of the court 
by Winthrop Sargeant, secretary of the Territory, when he 
came to organize the territory by authority of the United 
States in 1790. He was a distinguished pioneer citizen who 
had been previously appointed captain of a company raised 
when Father Gibault administered the oath of allegiance to 
the French inhabitants in the winter of 1778 and was the man 
who hauled clown the British flag over the fort and raised in 
its stead the red and green serge flag. One of the streets in 
Vincennes is named in memory of this man. He died in 
.1791 and was buried in the Catholic cemetery here. 

When the force was organized at Ivaskaskia to come and 
capture the fort here it was Pierre Gibault who insisted it 
-should be undertaken at an inclement season of the year when 
the whole intervening country between Ivaskaskia and Vin- 
cennes was covered with ice and water. He did this because 
he knew of the existing condition of the fort here. It was 
practically unguarded and in total want of supplies of all 
kinds. These were expected from Canada in the early spring- 
time. Success, therefore, depended upon speedy action before 
"the expected supplies arrived. These matters were all within 
ihe knowledge of Pierre Gibault, who was well acquainted 
with the French inhabitants here, and communication between 
=this place and Kaskaskia was frequent. But these important 
facts were not known to Gen. Clark or any of the command 
that accompanied him from the falls of the Ohio to Kaskaskia. 

And when the force was fully armed and equipped, ready 10 
proceed to come and capture the fort here, it was Pierre Gi- 
bault who gave them cheer and encouragement. Gen. Clark 
in his report of this expedition, says that when the force was 
ready to depart from Kaskaskai for the Wabash on February 
5, 1779, that Father Gibault appeared before the two Illinois 
■companies he had been instrumental in raising and addressed 

96 A History op Vincennes. 

them and gave them his blessing. Gen. Clark does not give 
the substance of the address of Father Gibanlt to the two Illi- 
nois companies on that interesting and momentous occasion. 
We will supply this omission. The address was delivered in 
French, but we give the substance of it in English for the ben- 
efit of the reader : 

"My Dear Br&thren and Fellow Citizens: 

"You are about to start on a glorious mission, the succeed 
of which will cover you with everlasting glory. And of the 
entire success of it there can be no doubt. The French peopJe 
residing in the village on the Wabash are animated by the 
same feelings and impulses as you are. I am well acquainted 
with them, having resided among them as their pastor from 
1770 until I was driven away by the English in the spring of 
last year. These French people are no friends of the English, 
and are ready at any favorable opportunity to strike them a 
deadly blow. They unanimously, at my request, in the wint tr 
of 1778, manifested this by renouncing allegiance to the Eng- 
lish and taking an oath to support the American cause in the 
revolution now in progress against the English. You are now 
going forward to furnish them this opportunity, as you rep- 
resent the same cause that is now at war with the Engiidh. 
Go then with stout hearts and fearless souls knowing in ad- 
vance that your efforts will be crowned with complete success 
And I specially charge that you do not forget that what you 
do in this glorious cause is really done in the interest of your 
beloved France, for which you all feel a deep and abiding af- 
fection, as it is your fatherland. And that you may be sus- 
tained and cheered on your journey during the wintry weather 
through snow, water and ice and various hardships and priva- 
tions you will have to undergo, I will now give you the bless- 
ing of a poor Catholic priest for your safety and protection. 
1 now implore our Common Father, without whose knowledge 
not a sparrow falls to the ground, and who feeds the young 
ravens when they cry, that He may sustain you, preserve you 
and crown your mission with success in the name of the 
Farther, and of the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.'"' 

Clark's St. Vincent Campaign. 97 

A representation of this imposing and dramatic scene can 
be seen in W. H. English's history of the conquest of the 
Northwest, Yol 1, on page 287. 

The expedition started from Kaskaskia on February 5, 
1779. How was it that the force made its way through the 
intervening overflowed and icy ground ' on the way to Vin- 
cennes ? Gen. Clark nor any of the men who came with him 
from the falls of the Ohio River to Kaskaskia had ever been 
in the country before, and knew nothing of the route to he 
passed over. This was known, however, to many of the men 
in the two French companies furnished the expedition at Kas- 
kaskia. Many of them, no doubt, had frequently passed over 
the route and were familiar with it. Without the aid of these 
men as guides the force of Gen. Clark could never have suc- 
cessfully threaded its way to the fort here. It is stated in 
the journal of Major Bowman that when Clark arrived at 
the "Wabash Elver on his way, with its banks all overflowed, 
he gave orders to his men to look out for boats and supplies. 
He was then nine miles below Yincennes at an inclement sea- 
son of the year, and surrounded on all sides by a miniature sea 
of water. Why should such an order have been given if there 
had not been a pre-arrangement that boats and supplies would 
be furnished him? Why, under all the circumstances, should 
any sane man expect boats and supplies at that point? Tlie 
only reason that can be assigned for Clark's order is that boats 
and supplies had been promised him, and therefore he ex- 
pected them. Who was it that had promised the boats and 
supplies? Who could have given such a promise with any 
reasonable hope of fulfilment ? It was not Gen. Clark or any 
of his command that he brought with him from the falls of 
the Ohio Eiver. They were all entire strangers in the coun- 
try and wholly unknown to the inhabitants of Vincennes who 
were expected to furnish the boats and supplies. It was un- 
questionably Father Gibault, the only man at that time pos- 

98 A History of Vincennes. 

sessing the necessary influence to make such a promise with 
any hope of its fulfillment. 

After the force had secured two boats and crossed the Wa- 
bash Elver to the "Mamelle Hill" they were nine miles from 
Vincennes. Between them and the town were the overflowed 
waters of the Wabash Eiver in places fifteen and even twenty- 
five feet deep. The intervening space was filled with coulees, 
ravines, marshes, swamps and morasses. No man unacquaint- 
ed with the topography of the country could have attempted 
to pass safely over that space. He would have been drowned 
in making the attempt. Yet the French inhabitants acquaint- 
ed with the country could do it safely by wending their way 
through the waters on the ridges of high ground and reach 
Vincennes on their little French ponies without wetting their 
feet. The journal kept by Major Bowman says they met duck 
hunters who conducted them from the "Mamelh, Hill" to the 
sugar camp, and from thence to "Warriors Island," and then 
by a detour to the south to the high grounds on which Vin- 
cennes is situated. This was a very tortuous and circuitous 
route to take to reach Vincennes from the "Mamelle Hill." 
But it was the only one that could be taken with any chance 
of reaching Vincennes. Who were the duck hunters spokeu 
of by the writer of the journal ? It is not reasonable to sup- 
pose that they were really duck hunters from Vincennes in 
mid- winter with the whole country covered with ice and water, 
when they could capture all the ducks they wanted without 
leaving the high grounds upon which the village was situated 
No ; they were not duck hunters, but they were guides that had 
been provided through the influence of Father G-ibault to con- 
duct G-en. Clark and his force to the village. And when they 
finally reached the village half famished, as they had not 
taken, according to the journal of Major Bowman, any food 
for three days, and were wet and tired and foot-sore, what 
caused the inhabitants of the village to receive an armed force 

Clark's St. Vincent Campaign. 90 

of strangers with kindness and hospitality and to furnish 
them needed refreshments ? It was unquestionably the influ- 
ence of their old pastor, Pierre Gibault. 

It is well known that the inhabitants acquainted Gen. Clark 
with the condition of things at the fort, its want of supplier 
and munitions of war, and that these were daily expected to 
arrive from Canada. They urged Gen. Clark to commence 
operations the night of his arrival before the supplies and re 
inforcements could arrive. Three-fourths of the men who 
took part in the attack on the old fort were Catholics. It is 
both reasonable and just to claim that all this was accom- 
plished through the influence of Pierre Gabault. He sug- 
gested and planned the expedition, its execution in mid-winter 
before supplies and reinforcements could arrive, and thus 
crowned it with success. 

After the oath of allegiance to the American cause had been, 
administered to the French inhabitants, Father Gibault suc- 
ceeded in organizing two companies of French men, one under 
the command of Francois Busseron, and the other under the 
command of Capt, Nicholas. Capt. Helm was appointed tc 
take possession of the old fort, which the English had named 
"Sackville." Its name, when Clark captured it in February, 
1779, was again changed to "Fort Patrick Henry." Captain 
Busseron hauled down the English flag and hoisted in its 
stead a two-colored flag made of green and red colored serge. 
For the expense occasioned by the flag, Capt. Busseron pre- 
sented an account against Capt. Helm which was paid him, of 
which the following is a copy: "1778 Paid to St. Marie for 
5 ells of red serge for the flag, 45c. Paid to Mr. Defonet for 
3 3-4 ells of green serge for flag, 37 1 /2C. Paid to Mrs. Godare 
for making the flag, 25c.'' The facts connected with the haul- 
ing down the British flag and hoisting the two-colored flag- 
are proven by papers connected with the estate of Capt. Bus- 
seron, now in possession of Hon. Charles B. Lasselle, of Lo- 

100 A History op Vincennes. 

gansport, Indiana. Capt. Busseron died in 1791, and Antoin 
Marachall administered on his estate. Upon his death, Kv- 
cinthe Lasselle administered on his estate and came into pos- 
session of the papers of the estate of Capt. Bnsseron, and upon 
his death Charles B. Lasselle came in possession of his father's 
papers and has them now. After the capture of the Fort in 
1779 by George Rogers Clark, he changed the name of the 
fort to Fort Patrick Henry, and many accounts and docu- 
ments concerning the fort after Clark got possession are all 
dated at "Fort Patrick Henry." 

For the part taken by Father Gibault in this transaction, 
when Hamilton afterwards came with his eighty soldiers and 
400 Indian allies and retook the fort he arrested Father Gi- 
bault and held him a prisoner for some time, but finally re- 
leased him on promise that he would leave the place. For th's 
release Gov. Hamilton was censured by the British authori- 
ties in Canada on the ground that as Father Gibault was a 
British subject at the time, living in the territory of thai; 
county, he should have been held and tried for treason. 

Col. Clark, in a commission dated by him at "Fort Clark," 
Kaskaskia, August 15, 1778, appointed Francois Busseron 
captain of a militia company at Post Vincenne, which com- 
mission is also in possession of Hon. Charles B. Lasselle, of 
Logansport, Indiana. 

Why was the fort actually captured by Gen. Clark on the 
25th of February, 1779 ? It was not on account of the violence 
of the attack or any deadly effect produced hj it. The firing 
on the fort began at 5 o'clock, February 21, 1779, and was 
kept up without intermission until 10 o'clock the next day, 
and not the least impression had been made on the walls of 
the fortress, and not a man within its protecting walls had 
been either killed or wounded. They might have kept up the 
fusilade with their flint-lock muskets until all their ammuni- 
tion was exhausted with the same fruitless result. If the fort 

Clark's St. Vincent Campaign. 101 

had been supplied with ammunition one blast from one of the 
large cannon within the fortress would have scattered the as- 
saulting force like the early spring flowers are scattered and 
perish before sheets of desolating wintry storm. It cannot le 
denied that if Governor Hamilton had possessed ammunition 
he could have driven off the assailants as easy as the tempest 
shakes the rain drops from the bending forest. This attack 
on the old fort with flint-lock muskets without producing any 
damaging result has always reminded the intelligent reader 
of the silly attempt of the Chinese to scare off the allied forces 
under the command of Lord Elgin when they approached 
Pekin in 1860. They assembled innumerable hordes of Chi- 
nese armed with gongs, and by the noise they could make 
Avere expected to scare off the allied forces. But the allies 
were not frightened awa}^. To use the language of Lord 
Elgin, in his report, "I gave the order to sack and destroy the 
favorite residence of the emperor, and it would then become 
a solemn act of retribution. The palaces were cleared of 
every valuable and their walls destroyed by fire and sword." 

How, then, was the capture of the old fort actually accom- 
plished by Gen. Clark on February 25, 1779 ? It was the want 
of provisions and ammunition, and the fact that starvation 
confronted its inmates. It is well known that Gov. Hamilton 
tried to temporize and seek delay in the hope in the mean- 
time his expected supplies and re-inforcements would arrive. 
But Gen. Clark prudently refused to give any time. Gov. 
Hamilton knew he could get no supplies or provisions from 
the French inhabitants of the village,' who were all hostile to 
his cause. This entire want of provisions and ammunition 
induced him to hold the conference with Gen. Clark in the old 
church near the fort, when he signed the following articles 
of capitulation, February 25, 1779 : 

"Agreed to for the following reasons : The remoteness from 
succor, the state and quantity of provisions, etc., the unan- 

102 A History op Vincennes. 

imity of officers and men in its expediency, the honorable 
terms allowed, and lastly, the confidence in a generous enemy. 

Henry Hamilton, 
Lieut. -Governor and Superintendent. 

And in consequence of this surrender the flag of Great 
Britain was lowered and possession of the fort surrendered to 
Virginia. In this connection the truth of history requires a 
fanciful incident to be spoiled which has been circulated in 
this place for many years. It has been said that the American 
flag was hoisted over the fort after the surrender. If any flag 
was hoisted it was the flag of Virginia, as Col. Clark was in 
command of Virginia troops, acting under a commission of 
the governor of that State. Various French women have been 
named as having made the Star Spangled Banner that was 
hoisted. But the Star Spangled Banner had no existence at 
that date, which was February, 1779. The Star Spangle 1 
Banner is a growth rather than a creation. The flags used 
during the Bevolutionary War were the various flags of the 
several revolted colonies before and after the Declaration of 
Independence. The Stars and Stripes then had no existence, 
and after it was adopted underwent many changes before fat- 
ing the shape at present established. During the revolution 
each of the colonies had its own flag. That of Virginia was of 
silk with a heroic figure standing erect and armed, with one 
foot upon the neck of a prostrate form with the motto, ''Sii 
Semper Tyrannis." If any flag was hoisted at the time over 
the old fort when it was surrendered to Col. Clark in Febru- 
ary, 1779, it was the flag of Virginia. No person in Vin- 
cennes, male or female, at that early period, could have made 
a flag of Virginia. It is probable no flag was raised unless 
one that Col. Clark brought with him. But it is more rea- 
sonable to conclude no flag was raised, the victors being con- 
tent to haul down the British flag, the emblem of its sover- 
eignty. The date of surrender was before the flag raising 

Clark's St. Vincent Campaign. 103 

craze had arrived. And why has not the important share 
borne by Father Gibault in this important affair been prop- 
erly acknowledged and compensated? This neglect and want 
of recognition of valuable services rendered by the missionary 
fathers in the Northwest is in the main due to their own want 
of desiring any snch recognition. A celebrated historian in 
alluding to this, says : 

"The priests on the missions in the Northwest were con- 
tent to labor and suffer and to leave the record of their deeds 
to God." 

Eev. Pierre Gibault was one of these missionaries and acted 
upon the principle laid down in the parable as recorded in 
Luke, chapter 18, verse 14 : "I tell you this man went down 
to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that 
exalteth himself shall be abased: and he that humbleth him- 
self shall be exalted." 

He did make a modest request that a small lot in the village 
of Cahokia should be given him. In reference to this request, 
Governor St. Clair in his report, dated in 1791, to Mr. Jeffer- 
son, secretary of state, says : 

"No. 21 is the request of Mr. Gibault for a small lot that 
has long been in the occupation of the priests at Cahokia, hav- 
ing been assigned them by the French. It is true he was veiy 
useful to Gen. Clark upon many occasions, and has suffered 
very heavy losses. I believe no injury would be done to any 
one by his request being granted." 

This French grant was within the stipulations that all the 
grants of the French should be respected and confirmed. But 
this modest and just request of Father Gibault was never 
granted, and the last years of this distinguished and able man 
were passed in suffering and poverty. After an active life 
spent by him for the benefit of his fellow men and his country 
he had nothing to show for it, not even a house he could call 

104 A History or Vincennes. 

his own. He could truly say "the birds of the air have nests, 
and the foxes holes, but I have no place to lay my head." 

Judge Law in his address to the Vincennes Historical and 
Antiquarian Societ} r , delivered on February 22, 1839, has this 

to say of Father Gibault : 

"Next to Clark and Vigo, the United States are indebted 
to Father Gibault for the accession of the States comprised 
within what was the original Northwest Territory more than 
to any other man." 

This address we note was delivered three years, lacking a 
month, after the death of Col. Vigo, and after he had made a 
remarkable will and in it confirmed the contract and employ- 
ment of the judge to prosecute his claim for the supplies be 
had furnished Gen. Clark against the government, and to take 
his compensation for his services from the amount allowed oy 
Congress. Why, it may be reasonably asked, did Judge Law 
thus prefer the sympathetic, sociable but unlettered Sardinian 
to the magnetic, eloquent and learned Arcadian? Was it the 
hope that it would hasten and stimulate the passage of the 
claim before Congress, and thus enable him to get his fees 
that he felt called upon to magnify the services and claims of 
Vigo above those of Gibault? 

"Truth crushed to earth shall rise again, 
The eternal years of God are hers ; 
But error wounded, writhes with pain, 
And dies among her A^orshippers." 

These missionary priests who labored on the missions in th.p 
Northwest were in the world but not of the world. Thej 
labored not for the transitory things of earth, but for the 
nobler and better things pertaining to eternity. They passed 
quietly through the turbulent scenes of this unfriendly world 
and found a final resting place in unknown and unmarked 
graves. But in the final day the great "I am" will call them 

Clark's St. Vincent Campaign. 105 

forth from their solitude clothed in robes of immortality to 
receive golden harps and crowns of glory. 

"Softly and noiselessly some feet tread, 
Lone ways on earth without leaving a mark ; 
They move 'mid the living, they pass to the dead 
As still as the gleam of a star thro the dark, 
Lonely and hiddenly in the world 
Tho in the world 'tis their lot to stay 
The tremulous wings of their hearts are furled 
Until they fly from the world away 
And find their rest 
On our Father's breast 
Where earths unknown shall be known the best, 
And the hidden heart shall be brightest, best." 

It has been frequently said that Republics are ungrateful. 
The truth of this trite saying is forcibly illustrated by th& 
treatment of the Federal Government towards three men, 
who, above all others, were the main instruments in wresting 
from England the territory northwest of the River Ohio, and 
thereby paving the way for its ultimate acquisition through 
Virginia of that vast and fertile country out of which the live 
rich and populous States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan 
and Wisconsin have been carved and added to the sisterhood of 
States. The three men alluded to are Pierre Gibault, George 
Rogers Clark and Francis Vigo. They all went to their graves 
in a very similar condition, and all present a parallel of gov- 
ernment neglect in consideration of patriotic and valuable 
services rendered the government without a counterpart in 
the annals of history. 

Rev. Pierre Gibault was a French missionary Catholic 
priest that spent his entire life after completing his educa- 
tion in laboring incessantly for the good of his fellow men in 
the wilderness of the northwest. He was finely educated, of 
commanding presence, superior oratorical powers and pos- 
sessed magnetic qualities. He exercised unbounded influence 

106 A History op Vincennes. 

over the inhabitants of the entire country, as he had visited 
and ministered at all the mission stations in the country. 
The inhabitants were almost exclusively French or of French 
descent, and Catholics. From 1770 to 1790 his influence over 
the inhabitants was unlimited. He was the ablest man in the 
country at that time. He did more to have the Northwest 
Territory severed from England than any other man. It may 
be claimed with much reason that the expeditions that cul- 
minated in the conquest of the northwest was inspired by him 
in consequence of information furnished by him to some of 
the many distinguished French officers who came over and as- 
sisted the colonies in the war for independence. The British 
authorities in Canada in an official report made in 1778, make 
special reference to him as being the most learned, influential 
and dangerous enemy of British interests of any man that had 
appeared in the northwest. And all he did was done at great 
personal risk, as he was claimed by the English to be a British 
subject, and also at heavy pecuniary loss. His great services 
were often acknowledged in official reports of various kinds 
and never questioned. Compensations for his loss and val- 
uable services were promised, but the promises were never ful- 
filled. After a life of toil and privation in the wilderness he 
contracted bodily infirmities incident to his arduous labors. 
But he was permitted by the Government to spend the las; 
days of his life in suffering and want without even a hou^e 
he could call his own, and his remains, after death, were 
buried in a country grave-yard and his grave remains to this 
day unmarked and he sleeps his last 

"Sleep unmarked 
Even by such slight memento as the hind 
Carves on his own coarse tombstone/' 

George Bogers Clark, the hero and patroit and active 1113- 
chanical instrument in the acquisition of the territory,, 

Clark's St. Vincent Campaign. 107 

through whose courage, indomitable will and stubborn deter- 
mination to accomplish his purpose regardless of opposition 
or danger survived his brilliant achievements in the north- 
west thirty-nine years. He died at Locust Grove, near Louis* 
ville, Kentucky, February 13, 1818. He was buried in a coun- 
try grave-yard February 18, 1818. The last years of the 
life of this hero and patroit were also spent in penury and 
pain. He depended upon the charity of friends for even tin 
necessaries of life. He suffered before his death a paralytic 
stroke, and to save his life his left leg was amputated above 
the knee. In this distressed and disabled physical condition 
he lingered many years before his death. He petitioned Con- 
gress for a small appropriation of money to sustain him i.i 
his declining years. The appropriation was never made in 
his lifetime, and never, so far as I know, but which if ever 
granted did him no benefit, and went to collateral relatives 
who had not come to his relief in his hour of distress. He 
Avas never married and left no issue. His remains, after his 
death, remained neglected for over fifty years in the country 
grave-yard where he was buried among many others. No 
mark was placed over his grave to indicate the place of inter- 
ment. Here they remained until, private persons, in 1869, 
determined to disinter them and give them proper sepulture, 
in Cave Hill cemetery, adjoining Louisville, Ky. Great dilfi- 
culty was experienced in finding his remains. Seven or eight 
bodies were dug up in the quest, and finally they were found 
and identified, by the want of his left leg, which had been 
amputated above the knee. And thus over fifty years after 
the death of this hero and patroit his remains were transferred 
from the lonety country grave-yard and buried on October 2'.), 
1869, in Cave Hill cemetery, that beautiful city of the deacL 
and a suitable monument erected over his grave. 
I will conclude this brief review of the last days and burial 

108 A History op Vincennes. 

of Gen. Clark by slightly changing and then adopting the 
poetic sentiment of Shakespeare, viz : 

0, my country ! my country ! 
Had I served my God with half the zeal 
I have served thee, he would not in mine age 
Have left me naked, like a shattered 
Bark on the stream of time. 

Francis Vigo, a Sardinian by birth and a successful Indian 
trader, was located in 1778 at the site on the Mississippi River 
where the present city of. St. Louis now stands. He was a 
zealous Catholic at the time and was a member of the congre- 
gation of Father Gibault. He was induced by the request and 
influence of his pastor to furnish the necessary means to ac- 
complish the conquest of the fort at St. Vincent, where the 
present city of Vincennes now stands. He survived the suc- 
cessful capture of the fort, for the accomplishment of which 
he had contributed so much, for over sixty years. The lact 
3'ears of his life were spent in Vincennes. He died March 22, 
1S3G, after a long and lingering illness, and for many 3<sars 
before his death was in actual want of even the necessaries of 
life and was in reality a pensioner on the charity of the public. 
He petitioned Congress to allow him in his destitute condition 
the money advanced by him to aid the expedition to capture 
the fort at this place. But this just claim, although its pay- 
ment was made a part of the consideration to be paid by Con- 
gress for the cession by A^irginia to the Federal Government, 
was never paid by the Government during the life of Col. 
Vigo. He died without issue or any known relatives by blood, 
and the amount allowed by the Government forty years af ler 
his death went to relatives of his childless wife who did nor 
come to his relief during his life and in the hour of his dis- 
tress. He was buried in the public cemetery of Vincennes by 
charity at public expense, so far as any expense attending his 
funeral was concerned. The only expense of his funeral ever 

Clark's St. Vincent Campaign. 109 

paid was twenty dollars for his plain coffin, which was noi 
paid nntil forty years after his death. He was awarded a mil- 
itary funeral with the honors of war, and the evening of hit 
funeral, which the author attended, was spent in firing cannon 
over his grave. But this military display did no good for tbe 
hero and patroit, as his spirit had taken its flight and his body 
had been buried to return to dust from whence it came. He 
was buried in the public cemetery, as already stated, and no 
mark or monument was erected over his grave to mark his 
last resting place for many years after his death. After the 
lapse of many years some unknown person caused a plam, 
small slab of stone to be laid on the top of his grave, but so 
long after his death that the date thereof had been forgotten 
and an erroneous date of his death carved on the small stone 
lying flat on the grave. And there he yet lies in a neglected 
grave except when the Grand Army of the Republic on Me- 
morial day scatters flowers over the graves of the heroic dead. 
"Sic transit gloria mundi." 

HO A History of Vincennes. 



For many years after Vincennes was settled there was no 
provision made of any kind for the extinguishment of fires. 
If a fire broke out in any part of the town it was left 
to be fought by its inmates and their neighbors, with such 
appliances as could be readily procured for use. This condi- 
tion of affairs and want of preparation in case of emergency, 
continued to exist long after municipal organization had 
taken place in 1807. The old Borough of Vincennes took no 
immediate step in the direction of aiding in the extinguish- 
ment of fires or providing any appliances for that purpose. 
This total neglect of fire protection on the part of the 
borough authorities, was in part due to the fact, that no neces- 
sity was felt, as the place had never been visited by any de- 
structive fire. But with the increase of population this could 
not long continue. In 1819, the borough trustees passed an 
ordinance to provide six fire hooks and six ladders thirty feet 
long, and required every family to provide itself with two two 
gallon leather buckets. These buckets were to be kept by the 
inhabitants at their homes and brought by them to any fire 
that might occur. But many families failed to provide the 
buckets, many were lost or destroyed and many failed to bring 
their buckets to a fire. In case of a fire where these buckets 
were to be used, two lines were formed reaching to some 
water supply. Along one the empty buckets were passed to 
be filled with water and along the other the buckets when 
filled were passed to be used at the fire. This arrangement 
was very imperfect. If the fire was not near a water supply, 
it was practically useless. In consequence of a destructive fire 
which broke out in the store of George Cruikshank & Co., sit- 
uated midway on the northeast side of Main street between 

Fire Protection. Ill 

First and Second streets, which entirely consumed all the 
buildings on the square except the storeroom of William 
Burtch on the corner of First street and the storeroom of 
Thomas Bishop on the corner of Second street, the borough 
authorities were aroused to the necessity of providing better 
protection for the town. A hand fire engine was purchased 
from Philadelphia and a volunteer fire company was organ- 
ized to use it. A building was erected on the alley adjoining 
the City Hall fronting on Main street. This company existed 
for many years and was the only fire company organized for 
the extinguishment of fires. Frederick A. Beiley was em- 
ployed to take care of this engine, and keep it in order. As 
this company could not afford satisfactory fire protection, 
another hand engine was purchased, and a house erected for it 
about midway on the southwest side of Broadway between 
Third and Fourth streets, and another volunteer fire com- 
pany was organized for its use. James A. Plummer was em- 
ployed to take charge of this engine and keep it in order. 
There existed between these two volunteer companies great 
rivalry as they each wished to be useful and to be the first 
at a fire and throw the first water on any fire. On this account 
many skirmishes took place between the members of the two 
volunteer companies as to which one should have possession 
of the cistern or other water supply and during the struggle 
between them, the burning building was entirely lost sight 
of. But these two volunteer fire companies, although the 
members used their utmost exertions to extinguish all fires 
that occurred, did but very little good. The members being 
scattered at their homes or places of business in case of a fire 
alarm, took some time for a sufficient number to arrive at the 
engine house, locate the place of the fire and to be in suffi- 
cient force to enable them to move the engine and other ap- 
paratus to the fire. The result was that when they arrived at 
the fire, it had progressed so far as to be beyond relief and all 

112 A History op Vincennes. 

the fire companies could do was to endeavor to save adjoining 
property. And although as stated, the two fire companies used 
their best endeavors to extinguish a fire, it is not recorded that 
they ever succeeded in saving any building that took fire, but 
it must be said to their credit they always succeeded in saving 
the lot upon which the house stood. 

In vieAv of the imperfect protection in case of fires provided 
by the hand engines and the volunteer fire companies, the city 
council on the 17th January, 1870, passed an ordinance for 
the employment of a paid fire department. A steam fire en- 
gine was purchased and it was thought that there was nothing 
in the way of fire protection that was not then provided. It 
was in fact claimed that 'ne plus ultra" could be devised. 
This steam fire engine was certainly a great advance over all 
previous attempts to provide means for the extinguishment of 
fires. But in view of the admirable system that has since 
been provided and now in existence, this steam engine was as 
much behind the times in comparison with the present system 
as the different systems that had preceded it. 

In 1886 the city council authorized the construction of 
water works for the city. Under this ordinance a complete 
water supply has been obtained for the use of the citizens and 
of the fire department. The water works plant erected has 
no superior in any city in the state. The water tower is over 
two hundred feet high and affords ample pressure to enable 
the fire companies to throw several streams of water at the 
same time over the highest buildings in the city, no matter 
where they may be located. And in connection with a perfect 
system of electric fire alarms, that has been also provided, the 
city is as adequately and perfectly provided with fire protec- 
tion as possible. Under the present fire system three compan- 
ies have been formed and houses erected for the reception of 
the apparatus. These houses are situated in different quar- 
ters of the city so that one company will be near the location 
of any fire that may take place in any part of the city. Fire 

Fire Protection. 113 

Company No. 1 is located in a brick building on Fourth street, 
midway between Main and Vigo streets, of which company 
J. J. Anderson is captain. This company is also provided with 
a Babcock fire extinguisher and the most improved and per- 
fect hook and ladder appliances manufactured. Company 
No. 2 is located in a brick building on the corner of Sixth 
and Harrison streets and James J. Hedden is the captain. 
Company No. 3 is located in a brick building on the corner of 
Second street and Kailroad avenue and Henry H. Miller is 
captain. The chief engineer of the entire fire department of 
the city is George Fendrich, who has been retained in that 
position for many years, until he has become perfectly famil- 
iar with all the details of his position. And the fire depart- 
ment as now organized is ready at a moment's warning to com- 
mence operations on any fire that may break out in any quar- 
ter of the city and as often happens, the fire department will 
be on hand to fight the fire before the immediate neighbors 
are aware of its existence and in some cases before the inmates 
of the house know it is on fire. 

It is not probable that any fire that may occur in any part 
of the city will have any show or chance of success when con- 
fronted by our efficient and faithful firemen. The alarm of 
fire now occasions no confusion or misgiving in the minds of 
our citizens, and very few go to it, only asking where it is 
located. They all feel that the fire department will pay its 
respects to the destroying element and prevent any serious re- 

In view of this the citizens of Vincennes now feel perfectly 
secure and think their residences and business houses are per- 
fectly secure from destruction by fire so far as it is possible 
for human agencies to secure them. This security acts as a 
stimulant to encourage and promote the building up of the 
city in full confidence that what they build will sustain no 
loss by fire. 

114 A History of Vincennes. 



The first mention must be made to St. Francis Xavier 
church because it was first in point of time. It was founded 
in 1702. It is stated in the Quebec annals that many Indian 
converts assisted in its erection. It was built of timbers set 
on end and the interstices filled with adobe. It had a dirt 
floor, benches and a rude altar. It had no windows or open- 
ing except the door in the northwest end facing the fort, The 
second log church was built at the request of Father Gribault. 
In a letter to the Bishop of Quebec, dated May 1785, he 
writes : "A new log church 90 by 42 feet has been built and 
the old church has been fitted up for my use as a pastoral res- 
idence." This second church remained standing until the 
present brick church was roofed over. It was then torn down 
about 1830. The present brick church was projected by Rev. 
J. B. Champomier in 1825. He succeeded in raising funds 
for its erection and on March 4th, 1826, published notice in 
the Western Sun that the corner stone would be laid on March 
30, 1826. The walls of the church and the roof were com- 
pleted by the time Bishop Brute came in 1834. The church 
has been finished by different bishops, but was not fully com- 
pleted until 1850. There have been five bishops connected 
with this church. Bishops Brute, Hailandiere, Bazin, St. 
Palais and Chatard. The four first are dead and their re- 
mains are deposited in the basement chapel of the cathedral. 
Bishop Chatard is the present bishop. His residence and the 
name of the diocese has been changed to that of "Indiana- 

The following persons have been pastors of this church: 





A History of Vincennes. 


Religious. 117 

John Mermet, Antoninus Senat, Mercurin Conic, Sebastian 
Louis Meurin, Pierre Du Jaunay, Louis Vivier, Julian Duver- 
nay, Pierre G-ibault, Louis Payet, Benedict J. Flaget, Michael 
Levadoux, John F. Rivet, Donatieu Oliver, G-. J. Chabrat, Jo- 
seph Eosati, John B. Aquironi, Anthony Blanc, Augustus 
Jean Jeans, A. Ferrari, M. Dohmen, John B. Champomier, 
S. P. Lalumiere, Louis N". Petit, Anthony Parret, L. Picot, 
John Corbe, Celestine Hailandiere, August Martin, Michael 
E. Shawe, Ernest Andrau, John Contin, Bede O'Connor, John 
Grueguen, Hugh Peythieu, James Stremler and Louis Gue- 

Of the above pastors seven have reached high positions in 
the church. Benedict J. Flaget, Bishop of Bardstown ; An- 
thony Blanc, Archbishop of New Orleans; G. J. Chabrat, 
Bishop of Louisville ; August Martin, Bishop of Nachitoches ; 
Joseph Eosati, Bishop of St. Louis; Celestine Hailandiere 
Bishop of Vincennes. 

The congregation now comprises five hundred families with 
a membership of over fifteen hunderd members. 

The Methodist church was founded here April 18, 1828. 
Before that time itinerant ministers of that denomination, 
occasionally visited the place and held services. The first of 
these was Eev. Mr. Winans, who was here in 1808. The next 
was John M. Baker in 1810, then Thomas Stillwell in 1811, 
James Turner in 1812, Richard Eichardson in 1813, Zacha- 
riah Chilton in 1814, John Shrader in 1815', Thomas Davis in 
1816, James McCord in 1817, Charles Slocum in 1817, John 
McCord in 1818. But all the above came of their own voli- 
tion without the appointment of any authority of the church 
and made only passing visits of short duration. During the 
time of the visits of the above ministers there was no congre- 
gation here and no church building. On April 18, 1828, 
steps were taken to form a congregation and a lot on the cor- 
ner of Third and Buntin streets was purchased and a brick 

118 A History op Vincennes. 

church erected on the lot. This church was enlarged, and im- 
proved from time to time and was used by the congregation 
until the present new stone church was ready for use in 1900. 
Several years previous to this a fine lot in one of the choicest 
locations in the city on the corner of Fourth and Perry streets, 
was purchased. Upon this lot the congregation erected a fine 
durable stone church which will last for centuries, and it is 
now used by the congregation. The corner stone of this stone 
church was laid by Bishop Fowler, April 17, 1899, and it was 
dedicated by Bishop McCabe, April 1, 1900. I give from rec- 
ollection the names of the following pastors of the church: 
Elijah Whitten, Aaron Wood, John W. Jackson, William 
McK. Hester, W. H. Grim, Mr. Walker, Mr. Clippinger and 
Mr. Willis, the present incumbent. 

The Presbyterian church was founded here in 1833. Before 
that date the Presbyterians had services at the two Indiana 
churches in the country about four miles east of the town. In 
1806 Samuel B. Eobertson of Kentucky, came here and or- 
ganized the church in the country. He was succeeded by 
Samuel T. Scott in 1807. He was succeeded by Samuel -E. 
Alexander, who continued to preach for many years. Before 
1833 the Presbyterians of Vincennes held religious services 
either in private houses or the Court House and occasionally 
attended the upper or lower Indiana churches in the country. 
But on January 5, 1833, which date is the real founding of 
the church, the following persons organized a church in town. 
John Bruner, Samuel Harris, Lidia Harris, Samuel Smith,. 
James Kuykendall, Sarah Hay, Patsy Hill, Elizabeth Decker, 
Mrs. Shadduck, John McGiffin, Elizabeth Wyant, Minerva 
Koseman, Andrew Graham, Mrs. Graham, Elizabeth Graham,. 
Jane Shuler, Mr. Driatt, Francis Bruner, Joseph Maddox,. 
Mary Small, Elizabeth Smith, Catharine Kuykendall, J. D. 
Hay, E. Dooley, Elizabeth McCall, William E. McCall, John 
C. Holland, Elias Beedle, Hannah Wise, Mrs. Lucree and Mrs.. 


1 /'••/ 





A History or Vincennes. 


Religious. 121 

jSTycewanger. A lot on the corner of Fifth and Busseron 
streets was donated by Mr. Bruner and a brick church was 
erected on it, This church was remodelled from time to time 
and continued to be used by the congregation until 1862, when 
a division took place and a portion ceceded and built a brick 
church on the corner of Main and Sixth streets. This divis- 
ion was subsequently harmonized and the two congregations 
united. A fine new church was erected on the old location in 
1884, but was not completed according to plans until 1898. 
The. church as it stands today is in appearance the finest 
church building in Vincennes. The pastors of the Presby- 
terian church have been: W. W. Martin, John McNair, 
Thomas Alexander, Samuel E. Alexander, John F. Smith, 
John W. Blythe, J. F. Jennison, Eli B. Smith, John F. 
Hendy, Joseph Vance, E. P. Whalleti, George Knox and Dr. 
Hunter, the present pastor. 

The Christian church was organized in 1833. The first 
members of the church were: Henry D. Wheeler and wife, 
Mrs. Harriet Judah, Dr. John E. Mantle and Stephen Bur- 
net. The congregation worshipped in private houses and in 
the Town Hall until 1 846, when a lot was purchased on Sec- 
ond street and a brick church erected. The first trustees of 
the church were Henry D. Wheeler, John E. Mantle and Al- 
phens Draper. In 187S, the church building was improved 
by an addition in front and a tower and subsequently a 
baptistry and pastoral residence were erected. In 1901, Clar- 
ence B. Kessinger, one of the members, donated to the congre- 
gation a lot on the corner of Third and Broadway streets, 
upon which it is intended to erect a fine church at an early 
day. The funds for this purpose are being rapidly gathered. 
The following persons have been pastors of this church : Eli- 
jah Goodwin, P. K. Dibble, I. M. Mathews, W. W. Eccles, 0. 
A. Bartholomew, T. T. Holton, W. IT. Tiller, Thomas J. 

122 A History op Vincennes. 

Clark, W. Carter and W. Oestricher. It has a membership of 

The parish of St. James of the Episcopal church was organ- 
ized by Rt. Eev. Jackson Kemper, October 27, 1839. The fol- 
lowing members were elected vestry men: George Davis, 
George Cruikshank, John Crnikshank, James W. Greenhow,. 
Samuel Langdon, Abner T. Ellis and Joseph Somes. George 
Davis and James W. Greenhow were chosen wardens. Joseph 
Somes, treasurer and George W. Eathbone, clerk of the vestry. 
The use of the Town Hall was obtained and fitted up as a 
place of worship. Services were commenced to be held in the 
Town Hall on the 5th February, 1840, and were continued to- 
be held there until August, 1813. A lot was purchased on the 
corner of Fourth and Busseron streets and on this lot a brick 
church was erected in 1813, and has been improved from time- 
to time by additions and improvements until it is at present 
a very imposing church edifice. This church was founded in. 
1811 and dedicated in August, 1813, by Rev. B. B. Killikelly r 
D. D., who was the first rector. The following other persons 
have been pastors of the church: Foster Thayer, Mr. Carter,. 
Mr. Roberts, Dr. Austin and De Lou Burke. 

The African Methodist Episcopal church was organized 
about 1815 by Rev. W. F. Quinn. The first members of the 
church were: Samuel Clark, Cornelius Sims, A. McGill,. 
James Brunswick, William Johnson, Mary Johnson, Henry 
Rider, Anna Rider, T. Paryear and H. H. Stewart. Services 
were first held at the residences of the members. But in 
1850 a frame church was erected on the corner of Tenth and 
Buntin streets. This was succeeded in 1875 by a brick church 
on the same lot. The following persons have been pastors of 
this church : Daniel Winslow, G. W. Johnson, Robert Johnson,. 
James Curtis, Robert Jones, W. R. Revels, Benjamin Hill, 
Emanuel Williamson, John Turner, B. L. Brook, Levi W. 
Bass, Thomas Strotter, H. C. Nelson, Madison Pattison, G._ 





A History of Vincennes. 


Religious. 125 

W. Black. William Jackson, H. B. Smith, J. H. Alexander, 
J. S. Lewis, Jesse Bass, H. H. Wilson, J. K. Ferguson and 
Jason Bundy. 

The African Baptist church was organized here about 1860. 
A frame church was erected for the congregation on Tenth 
street and has been occupied by the congregation until the 
present time. 

St. John's Catholic church was organized in 1851. Prior 
to that time the German Catholics of Yincennes worshipped 
at the cathedral. They were served by Charles Opperman in 
181(3 and afterwards by Conrad Sneider jeans. In 1851 Nicho- 
las Strauber built the first church of brick on Main street be- 
tween Eighth and Ninth streets. He was succeeded by Leon- 
ard Brandt, and he by William Engeln, who remained until 
1863. Bev. Aegidius Merz took charge in September, 1863, 
and remained until his death in 1897. He made many addi- 
tions and improvements to the church and also built a pastoral 
residence and a large school building all of brick. The 
church property of this congregation, considering its fine lo- 
cation and surroundings, is unquestionably the finest church 
property in the city. The congregation is also the largest in 
the city. The present rector is Bev. Meinrad Fleisehmann. 

St. John's Lutheran church for a number of years held 
services in the Town Hall. A brick church was built on the 
corner of Eighth and Scott streets and was used for some 
years by the Lutheran and Evangelical churches jointly. But 
in 1859 a division of the congregations took place and the 
Lutherans remained in possession of the church property pay- 
ing the Evangelical branch a consideration agreed upon for 
their interest. The present congregation was organized Au- 
gust 29, 1859, by Bev. Peter Senel. He was succeeded by J. 
D. F. Mayer and he by J. W. Mueller. Carl Kretzman is the 
present pastor. The first brick church was torn down in 1876 
and the present substantial edifice erected in its stead. This 

126 A History of Vincenxes. 

congregation lias a large school building and maintains a 
flourishing school for boys and girls/ and the church is in a 
flourishing condition. 

St. John's Evangelical church was organized on the separa- 
tion of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran church in August, 
1859, by Eev. C. Hoffmeister. The leading members of the 
church at the time of organization were : John Hamm, Fred- 
erick, Peter and William Bitterskamp, Jacob Breuhans, Louis 
Bonsil and August Kircher. A frame church was erected in 
1862 on the corner of Fifth and Scott streets and occupied by 
the congregation until the erection of the splendid brick struc- 
ture on the corner of Fifth and Shelby streets which is 
an architectural ornament to the city. This congregation 
has a large and commodious pastoral residence and a fine 
school building and maintains schools for both boys and girls. 
This congregation is in a flourishing condition. The follow- 
ing have been pastors of this church: C. Hoffmeister, F. Dar- 
litz, William Jung, 1ST. Burkhart, P. Weber, Albert Schorey 
and Henry Mehl. 

The Baptist church was organized in 1860. Meetings were 
first held in the City Hall and in private residences. The 
church was formally organized May 1, 1862, with the follow- 
ing membership: Mrs. Mary S. Heberd, Mrs. Buck, Mrs. 
Flora, Mrs. Augustus J. Wise, Miss L. Duree, Miss M. Gilles- 
pie, Mrs. L. Gillespie, Eev. J. S. Gillespie and Christian Eal- 
len. A lot was purchased on the corner of Fifth and Broad- 
way streets, and a frame church erected on it which has been 
used ever since by the congregation. The following persons 
have been pastors of this church: J. S. Gillespie, L. D. Eob- 
inson, B. F. Cavins, Dr. Stinson, A. Brandenburg, I. H. But- 
ler, T. J. Keith, James E. Wolford and G. W. Law. 

St. Eose Chapel in connection with St. Eose Female Acad- 
emy has a fine place of worship on the corner of Fifth and 
Seminary streets. This chapel is regularly attended every day 





k j 

i i 

I f ' 



I > '1 

llllltv* 11 ^^', ■ " ' ! 




A History of Vincenxes. 




130 A History op Vincennes. 

by the clergy attached to St. Francis Xavier church. 

The Baptist congregation divided a few years ago and a 
portion separated from the main body and formed a new con- 
gregation called the Immanuel Holiness Baptist church. Eev. 
Thomas J. Keith is pastor of this congregation and regular 
services are held in the old Presbyterian church on Main 

The Free Methodist church has a frame building on the cor- 
ner of Fourth and Sycamore streets and regular services are 
held there on Sundays. Enos C. Bobbins is the pastor. 

The B'nai Israel congregation of the Hebrews have a con- 
gregation and hold regular services on the corner of Seventh 
and Broadway streets, on the second Sunday of each month. 
The congregation is wealthy and will erect a synagogue in a 
short time. M. Bindskopf and Victor Schoenfeld are trustees 
and B. Ivuhn. treasurer of the conoiwation. 

Finance 131 


Finance. has always been supplied with a sufficient num- 
ber of banking institutions. The Bank of Yincennes was in- 
corporated by the Territorial Legislature. This bank was or- 
ganized by Nathaniel Ewing, Charles Smith and others. It 
continued to do business until the state government was or- 
ganized. By an act of the state legislature it was adopted as 
the State Bank of Indiana. This bank failed in 1824. 

The Wabash Insurance Company was organized here and 
was invested with banking privileges and issued notes to cir- 
culate as money. Joseph Somes was secretary of this institu- 

A branch of the State Bank of Indiana was located here in 
1834 on the organization of the State Bank of Indiana. John 
Ross was cashier of this branch from its organization until it 
ceased to exist upon the expiration of the charter of the 
State Bank of Indiana. This branch and all the branches of 
the State Bank of Indiana were honestly and prudently man- 
aged and were a source of profit to the stockholders. 

The New York Stock Bank was organized here in 1855 
under the law passed by the legislature of Indiana, providing 
for the formation of Stock Banks. These banks were required 
by the law to deposit with the Auditor of State the stocks of 
any state in the Union and receive circulating notes to the 
face value of the securities less ten per cent. The defect in 
this law was that the bonds of some of the states were not of 
equal value and some only worth fifty cents on the dollar. 
This bank, as its name implies, was supposed to be founded 
on the bonds of New York state which were above par. In 

132 A History of Vincennes. 

fact, it was founded on the stock of the State of Mississippi, 
which were worth only about fifty cents on the dollar. The 
capital of this bank was $500,000. It was soon forced out of 

On the expiration of the charter of the State Bank of In- 
diana, the legislature passed a law in 1855, creating the Bank 
of the State of Indiana with branches. A branch of this bank 
was located here and John Boss was elected cashier and pru- 
dently managed this branch until it went out of existence. 
This bank secured a large line of business and had the entire 
confidence of the community and would have successfully 
continued in business, but was taxed out of existence by the 
United States laws, passed in the interest and for the benefit 
of the iSTational Bank system. 

The Vincennes National Bank was organized as the suc- 
cessor and j)rincipally with the capital of the Vincennes 
branch of the Bank of the State of Indiana. The capital of 
this branch when first organized, was $250,000, but was sub- 
sequently reduced to $100,000. This branch for a number of 
years while it was under the management and control of John 
Boss and Wilson J. Williams, did a fine and legitimate busi- 
ness. But it passed from their control by reason of their 
death and failed in July, 1893. It passed into the hands of 
Thomas R. Paxton of Princeton, who was appointed by the 
Controller of the Currency Receiver of the defunct bank. It 
was found to be a very bad failure. The stockholders were 
compelled to pay in addition to the loss of their stock, an 
amount equal thereto to pay the debts and liabilities of the 
bank. The officers at the time of its failure were Wilson M. 
Tyler, president ; and Hiram A. Foulk, cashier. 

The first private bank organized here was the Vincennes 
Deposit Bank of B. J. McKenney & Co. It was organized in 
September. 1867 by Richard J. McKenney, Peter E. LaPlante, 
Hiram A. Foulk, William Heberd, Ulysses Heberd and 

Finance. 133 

Henry S. Cauthorn, on a capital of $25,000, which was sub- 
sequently increased to $50,000. This was simply a private 
partnership for banking purposes and did a very large and 
lucrative business until 1879, when it went into voluntary 
liquidation. Richard J. McKenney was the business manager 
of this partnership from its opening to its close. 

The German Banking Company was organized here in 1871 
by Henry Knirihm, Louis L. Watson, Joseph L. Bayard, 
Marcelle D. Lacroix and others with a capital of $50,000. 
This was simply a partnership for banking purposes and did 
a large and profitable business. Joseph L. Bayard was cash- 
ier and manager of this business from its organization and 
during its existence. This banking company went out of busi- 
ness and the partners interested organized in its stead, the 
First National Bank of Yincennes with its capital. John H. 
Eabb was elected president of this bank and Joseph L. Bay- 
ard, cashier. 

The banks now doing business in the City of Yincennes are 
three. The First National Bank, the Second National Bank 
and the German National Bank. The First National Bank 
with a capital of $100,000 and a large surplus, was organized 
in 1871, as the successor of the German Banking Company, 
and succeeded to its business house and business. On the ex- 
piration of its first charter the bank was re-organized as it ex- 
ists today. The present officers of this bank are Joseph L. 
Bayard, president; P. M. O'Donnell, cashier; and Henry 
Somes, Jr., assistant cashier. 

The Second National Bank was organized in 1893, with a 
capital of $100,000, and has been doing a safe and profitable 
business ever since its organization. The officers of this bank 
are George W. Donaldson, president; William J. Freeman, 
cashier; J. T. Boyd, assistant cashier. 

The German National Bank was organized in 1888 with a 
capital of $100,000 and immediately secured a large line of 

134 A History of Vincexnes. 

deposits and has from the start done a lucrative and prosper- 
ous business. The officers of this bank are William Baker, 
president ; Gerard Reiter, vice-president. ; George E. Alsop, 
cashier ; Henry J. Boechman, assistant cashier. 

All three of the above National Banks are prudently and 
honestly managed and have the confidence of the entire com- 
munity. In consequence they are all doing a heavy and pros- 
perous business. 

I here insert the consolidated condition of the First Na- 
tional Bank, the Second National Bank and the German Na- 
tional Bank as indicated by their reports under the call of the 
comptroller of the currency at the close of business on Feb- 
ruary 25, 1902 : 

Loans and Discounts $1,574,870 49 

Deposits 2,684,183 41 

Resources 3,873,632 94 

We doubt whether there is another city of the population 
of Vincennes that can show as strong banking facilities as- 

Corporations. 135 


Vincennes has originated many corporations in the past 
The Vincennes Steam Mill Company organized August 6, 
1817, for the manufacture of flour, lumber and spirits, was 
started on a grand scale on the survey now occupied in part 
by Harrison Park. This company erected extensive and sub- 
stantial buildings and for many years did a large and pros- 
perous business. Nathaniel Ewing, John D. Hay, Willis Fel- 
lows and Benjamin Parke, were members of this corporation. 
The Wabash Insurance Company possessing also banking 
privileges in addition to general insurance. The Knox In- 
surance Company organized about 1850, for a time, did a 
]arge business and would have continued except for extending 
its business to marine risks on the Gulf of Mexico and the At- 
lantic Ocean, which so increased its losses as to compel it to 
go into liquidation. The American Live Stock Insurance 
Company, the first one of the kind ever organized anywhere 
for the insurance of live stock. These corporations have all 
jmssed away. 

The corporations yet in existence in the city are the follow- 

The Vincennes University, organized in 1806, under an act 
of the territorial legislature, is now in a flourishing condition 
and doing as good educational work as any similar institution 
in the state. It originall} r possessed a large donation of lands 
granted by the United States for the purpose of endowment. 
It started out with bright prospects, but its advance was re- 
tarded by the unjust attempt of the state legislaure to rob it 
of its donation of land and divert the same to the use of the 

136 A History of Vincennes. 

Indiana University at Bloomington. This legislation is con- 
sistent with all state ]egislation which has never been favora- 
ble, but inimical to Vincennes. But this unlawful misappro- 
priation of its lands was partially prevented by the Supreme 
court of the United States which declared this action of the 
state legislature to be unlawful and void. But the univer- 
sity was crippled in its operations for years. But it weathered 
this storm of unfriendly legislation and is yet as successfully 
performing its work as any university in the state, not ex- 
cepting the State University, supported as it is by large ap- 
propriations and endowment funds from the state treasury. 

The Vincennes Board of Trade, organized for the purpose 
of aiding and building up the city in every way, is doing 
good service. If such an organization had been in existence 
years before, it would have been of great advantage to this 

The Home Building and Loan Association, incorporated in 
1893 with a capital of $200,000. 

The Knox Building Loan Fund and Savings Association, 
incorporated in 1883 with a capital of $1,000,000. 

The Peoples' Savings Loan and Building Association, in- 
corporated in 1889 with a capital of $1,000,000. 

The Vincennes and Knox County Building and Loan Fund 
Association, incorporated in 1890 with a capital of $1,000,000. 

The Wabash Building and Loan Fund Association, incor- 
porated in 1898 with a capital of $500,000. 

The Prospect Hill Coal Mining Company, operating mines 
adjoining the city. 

The Prospect Hill Brick Yard Company, operating works 
in the immediate vicinity of the city. 

The Vincennes Mutual Fire Insurance Company, organized 
for the purpose of insuring such property only as is situated 
within the city limits. 

The Wabash Mutual Benefit Association, The Knox County 

Corporations. 137 

Agricultural and Mechanical Association, organized in 1870, 
and which has already held thirty-one successful fairs, almost 
equalling the state fairs of Indiana. 

The Vincennes Gas Light Company, originally organized 
in 1859 by Charles P. McGrady, Nathaniel Usher, W. H. H. 
Terrell, under a twenty }^ears' franchise. This company and 
its property was merged in the Citizens' Gas Light Company 
which is yet in existence and doing a. fine business. 

The Vincennes Electric Light and Power company, organ- 
ized in 1891, and which has a fine plant and is doing a fine 
business. . 

The City Electric Lighting Company, organized in 
1899, and which has erected a fine plant and under a 
contract with the city, is now lighting it in all its parts, all 
night and every night. 

The Central Foundry Company, for the manufacture of 
soil pipe, is the second largest establishment of the kind in 
the United States and has very extensive works and employs 
a large force of men. 

The Central Union Telephone Company has a complete 
plant making connections with all parts of the city, and in 
connection with the long distance telephone company with all 
parts of the United States. 

The Vincennes Citizens' Street Eailway Company which 
manufactures its own electric power and operates a railway 
extending from the principal business portions of the city, 
and to the adjoining suburbs. 

The Vincennes Water Supply Company, with a splendid 
plant and the highest water tower in the west (except one at 
Cleveland) being 210 feet high and of a capacity sufficient to 
throw several streams of water at the same time over the high- 
est buildings in the city. 

The Citizens' Gas Light Company with a fine plant and 
doing' a successful business. 

138 A History op Vincennes. 

The Vincennes Egg Case Company doing a large and in- 
creasing business. 

The Vincennes Paper Mill Company with the most im- 
proved machinery and with a large capacity for the manu- 
facture of paper, and running both day and night to supply 
the demand for its product. 

The Jt>hn Ebner Ice Company having a large plant and 
capable of manuf acting 200 tons of ice each day. 

The Eagle Brewing Company of Hack & Simon, manufact- 
uring the finest beer of any establishment in the state and 
furnishing its product to the city and surrounding towns. 

Agriculture. 139 



No city can expect to attract and retain a dense population 
without adequate resources. They must have a sure base upon 
which to depend to supply the wants of the citizens. Vin- 
cennes in this regard is highly favored by its location and sur- 
roundings. Situated in one of the finest agricultural locali- 
ties in the West, it has in its favor that paramount interest 
which is the corner-stone upon which rests all enterprises. 
The county of Knox in Indiana, and Lawrence in Illinois, are 
directly tributary to this city, and several other counties in 
both States to a great extent. The report of the state geologist 
gives the first place to Knox county as possessing soil suitable 
for the production of all kinds of fruit, grain and other pro- 
ducts that go to make up the general volume of agricultural 
resources. This great interest has been in the past what has 
sustained and built up Vincennes. The citizens of Vincennes 
for many years paid no attention to manufacturing interests, 
and consequently until within a few years past there were no 
manufacturing establishments in the city. It has been sus- 
tained solely by its unrivalled agricultural resources. There 
are yet in Knox and Lawrence counties rich and pro- 
ductive lands that can be purchased for less money than many 
less valuable lands in portions of the far west where there are 
no school houses, churches, roads and other accompaniments 
of civilization. The reason the lands in this vicinity have 
been overlooked by the ceaseless flow of emigration is because 
they have not been advertised by railroad and other companies 
as other lands in less favored regions have been. Besides ag- 
riculture in the vicinity of Vincennes is yet in its infancy. 
Although an old, settled region, for many years but little at- 
tention was paid to developing and improving the agricultural 


A History of Vincennes. 

resources of which it is capable. Large tracts of fertile an I 
productive lands in Knox county were suffered to remain until 
withm a few years past uncleared and unproductive. Other 
tracts were covered with swamps and marshes. And other 
lands on both the Wabash and White Rivers bottoms were 
practically valueless on account of the overflow of these rivers. 
But enterprise and industry in the last twenty years has rem- 
edied this. The rivers have been levied and the wet lands 
drained and rendered fit for cultivation. This good work is 
still in progress and the time not far distant when all the 
lands surrounding Vincennes will be a veritable garden. The 
roads of the country have been greatly improved and others 
are now in progress which will make Vincennes accessible at 
all seasons from all parts of the surrounding country over fine 
and durable roads. 

The following tables extracted from the official statistical 
report of the State of Indiana for 1898, the latest report ac- 
cessible, shows a gratifying result for Knox county, in which 
Vincennes is situated, in comparison with eleven other of th<? 
largest and most prosperous counties in the State for the pro- 
duction of the principal sources of the farmers' wealth : 


Knox . . • • 

Green . . . . 

Sullivan . . 

Davies . . . 

Pike . . . . 

Gibson . . . 

Allen . . . . 

Elkhart . . . 

St. Joseph . 

Laporte • . 

Tippecanoe . 










































Knox . 




Pike . 



Allen . . . 
Elkhart . . 
St. Joseph . 
LaPorte . . 




Knox ... 

Greene . . . 

Sullivan . . 

Davies . . . 

Pike . . . . 

Gibson . . . 

Allen . . . . 

Elkhart . . . 
St. Joseph 

La Porte . . 

Tippecanoe . 





And the above is only a partial showing of the rich agricul- 
tural country tributary to Vincennes, and whose products find 
a market here. The rich Allison prairie in Lawrence county, 
Illinois, extending from the Wabash River backwards aboui 
eight miles and up and down the river ten miles produce s 
abundant crops of all kinds of grain which comes to the Vin- 
cennes market and equals almost the amount that comes from 
Knox county itself. This prairie is noted for the fertility of 
its soil. For many years this rich prairie was mostly unfit for 
cultivation, being twice in the year overflowed by the united 

142" A History of Vincennes. 

waters of the Wabash and Embarras Rivers. Through the 
centre of it extended a vast swamp called "Purgatory Swamp'' 
which was difficult and dangerous to pass over at any season 
of the year. But this has all been remedied by the building of 
levees to confine the waters of these rivers, and by drainage 
and this prairie is today as rich and productive as any lands 
in the west. 

The immense quantities of wheat, corn, oats, hay and all 
agricultural products that are thrown on the Vincennes mar- 
ket at proper seasons put the transportation companies to ex- 
traordinary exertions to send it to eastern and foreign mar- 
kets. It is stated by agents in this city buying wheat for east- 
ern parties, and by the city millers and owners of different" 
elevators in the city, that the wheat crop of Knox county alone 
the present year will reach two million bushels, and some give 
a still higher figure. To this Lawrence county, in Illinois, 
will add at least one million bushels more. 

As already stated, the country around Vincennes on both 
sides of the Wabash River is adapted to the production of ail 
kinds of produce. Within the last decade the production of 
watermelons and nutmegs has reached such vast proportion 
that it is difficult in season when ready for market to procure 
cars for their transportation. The points in Knox county 
suitable and devoted to the cultivation of melons are Decker, 
Purcell, Vincennes, Emison and Oaktown, and Sandridge in 
Lawrence county, Illinois. From these various places im- 
mense shipments are made and the product is highly prized 
and takes rank in the markets of the north and east with the 
produce of any other section. The returns to the producer 
amount to more in proportion to the time, labor and acreage 
cultivated than the production of wheat, corn or other grain 
crops. And this industry has only commenced within a few 
years past and is as it were in its infancy. 

The county of Knox in Indiana and the county of Law- 

Agriculture. 143 

rence in Illinois have all kinds of soil. The high lands are 
rich and productive and adapted to any kind of farm use. 
The immense bottom lands on the Wabash and White Eivers 
are especially adapted to the production of corn and hay, and 
average crops can be raised on these lands without the custom- 
ary rains in seasons of most severe drought. There is no kind 
of produce that is required for the use of man or beast bat 
what can be profitably raised in abundance in the countr}'' 
around Vincennes. It is, therefore, no idle boast to claim thar 
Vincennes is situated in the midst of the garden spot of thi 

144 A History op Vincennes. 



Vincennes has always been favorably located for commerce. 
The Wabash Kiver has been a natural highway ready for use. 
When there were no roads or other means of inter-communi- 
cation in the Northwest, the Wabash River was the great 
artery of commerce for all the inhabitants along its course. 
When the red men of the forest were here in their glory, the 
lords of all they surveyed, the Wabash River was his delight. 
His bark canoe was all that disturbed its crystal waters. And 
when the white men came and settled along its banks and 
built up a profitable trade with the Indians, the Wabash 
River afforded the only means of communication with the out- 
side world. The "pirogues" of the "Courier der oois," as the 
advance guard of commercial men were called, navigated its 
waters, bringing goods and merchandize from Canada for the 
inhabitants and carrying back to Canada the pelfries and 
goods purchased from the Indians. When the country in- 
creased in wealth and population and better means of com- 
munication were demanded to answer the increased demands 
of commerce, the steamboat came to supply the demand. And 
the Wabash River was again the great artery of commerce. 
From the introduction of steamboats until the advent of 
railroads the Wabash River was in its glory. Steamboats from 
New Orleans, St. Louis, Louisville, Cincinnati and Pittsburg 
were daily visitors to the Vincennes port during the boating 
season, lasting about five months in the year, and after the 
building of the lock and dam at the grand rapids much 
larger, it was then no uncommon sight to see three and four 
steamboats from the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers at the Vin- 

Commerce. 145 

cennes wharf at the same time, and flatboats called "broad- 
horns" to carry the produce of the country to the southern 
markets could be seen at all times passing the town, wending 
their sluggish way with the flowing current to their southern 
destination. In 1836 as many as 800 of these boats passed by 
Vincennes by actual count. To show the immense business 
transacted on the Wabash Eiver by steamboats, we will insert 
a partial list of the boats that regularly traded with Vincen- 
nes from the various ports on the Mississippi and Ohio Bivers 
from 1840 to 1845: Argus, Alpha, Aid, Adelaide, Arabian, 
Banner, Citizen, Caledonia, Conveyance, Companion, Ceres, 
Concord, Cuba, Coquette, Camden, Corsair, Cecelia, Cumber- 
land Valley, Casket, Comanche, Canton, Daniel Boone, 
Dayton, Envoy, Emigrant, Exchange, Elk, Experiment, Fairy 
Queen, Fox, Fame, Florida, Gazelle, Gen. Warner, Gen. 
Marion, Gleaner, Gen. Hanna, Helen Mar, Herald, Hero, 
Hunter, Home, Herschel, Harriet, Hudson, Hilander, Indian, 
Juniata, Java, Julia, Gratiot, Jim Brown, Kentucky, Lady 
Boon, Lady Byron, Lady Madison, L'Orient, Lilly Lancaster, 
Little Ben Franklin, Logansport, Minor, Monroe, Motto, Mt. 
Vernon, Minstrel, Martha, Marquette, Minerva, Maryland, 
Nile, Nimrod, New Haven, Nick of the Woods, Nathan Hale, 
Niagara, Newark, Osage, Orion, Otsego, Ohio, Othello, Para- 
gon, Penn, Portsmouth, Putnam, Pittsburg, Pekin, Philadel- 
phia, Pearl, Planet, Eapids, Bover, Kochester, Boanoke, Be- 
serve, Sjdph, Science, Shoal Water, Spy, Signal, Shylock, 
Sciota Belle, Spartan, Salem, Sabine, Tecumseh, Tuscumbia, 
Tide, Texas, Thames, Tippecanoe, Tennessee, Tray, U. S. 
Mail, Victor, Vigilant, Visitor, Virginia, Waterloo, Wyoming, 
William Penn, Wm. Halbert, Wacauster. 

In 1843 a company was formed to provide slack water nav- 
igation at the grand rapids of the Wabash Eiver. This com- 
pany built a lock and dam that overcame that obstacle to the 


river navigation. But the lock and dam was constructed of 
wood and in the coarse of time rotted and became an obstacle 
to navigation instead of an aid. The stockholders fortunately 
sold their shares to the United States and the Federal author- 
ities constructed durable and expensive works of stone in their 
place at a cost of near a million dollars. But this expendi- 
ture of money was useless as the splendid works are not used 
for the purposes originally intended and never will be of any 
use except for the valuable water power they can furnish. 

The Wabash River as an artery of commerce to transport 
the produce of the Wabash valley to market has lost its pres- 
tige. The advent of railroads, that wonderful creative power 
that has built up cities in localities where nature never de- 
signed they should be located, has robbed the Wabash River 
of its glory as a waterway of commerce for general purposes. 
But it is yet and ever will be an aid and feeder for the Vin- 
cennes market. Several steamboats navigate its waters both 
above and below Vincennes at all stages of water and gather 
up and bring to the Vincennes market the abundant crops of 
the farms along its bank where they are re-shipped to the 
markets of the world by rail. This now makes, and in future 
will increase the volume, Vincennes one of the largest and 
best points for the purchase and shipment of produce in the 
West. The profitable and remunerative business of Vincen- 
nes, now very heavy, is constantly on the increase, and from 
the nature of things, will continue to increase with acceler- 
ated force with the improvement and development of the 
country. There is no point in the West that offers better ad- 
vantages in all departments of active life than Vincennes. 

While the Wabash River has ceased to be the artery of trade 
and commerce as it was in the past, Vincennes is now supplied 
with railroad facilities that more than compensate this loss. 
Railroads are the great arteries of commerce which have been 
contrived by the ingenuity of man and which have relegated 

Commerce. 147 

to the rear in many cases rivers, canals, and macadamized 
roads. Vincennes is now connected by the railroad to Terre 
Haute and thence by direct connection with Chicago, the 
greatest railroad center in the world, with the entire northern 
country. The railroad to Indianapolis, the capital of the 
state, and the second railroad center in the West, gives it: 
connection with all points in the East. The railroad to Cin- 
cinnati and its Louisville branch, opens up the entire East and 
Southeast. The railroad to Evansville and its southern con- 
nections, opens up the South. The railroad to Cairo at the 
junction of the Ohio and Mississippi Eivers, opens up the en- 
tire Southwest. And the railroad to St. Louis opens up the- 
entire West. These various railroads and their close connec- 
tions open up a direct communication with all points of the 
compass and make Vincennes a railroad center of no small, 

148 A History of Vincennes. 



Vincennes has been noted for the number of its fraternal 
societies. This is evidence of the mutual regard and friend- 
ship of its citizens for each other. 

Among these fraternities the first place is due to the Ma- 
sonic Order. The first lodge of Masons was organized heie 
March 31, 1809, under the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, and 
was No. 8 under that jurisdiction. When the Grand Lodge 
of Indiana was formed it surrendered that charter, and on the 
13th of Januar}^, 1818, received one from the Grand Lodge 
of Indiana being Xo. 1, which primitive rank it has ever since 
maintained. The lodge meets the first Monday in each 

The Vincennes Eoyal Arch Chapter Xo. 7 meets the second 
Monday in each month. 

The Vincennes Council Xo. 9 meets the third Monday in 
each month. 

The Vincennes Commandery Xo. 20, Knights Templar, 
meets the fourth Monday in each month. 

The above are all Masonic fraternities and meet at the Ma- 
sonic Temple on the corner of Main and Third streets. 

Wabash Lodge Xo. 20 of the Independent Order of Odd 
Fellows meets at Odd Fellow Hall on the corner of Second 
and Broadway streets every Tuesday evening. The Pride of 
the Wabash Xo. 458, Daughters of Rebecca, meets every Mon- 
day evening. 

Dioscuri Lodge Xo. 47, Knights of Pythias, meets every 
Tuesday evening. 

Vincennes Division Xo. 42, Uniform Rank of the Knights 
of Pythias, meets every Friday evening. 

Fraternities. 149 

Jefferson C. Davis Post No. 16 of the Grand x4.rmy of the 
Republic meets the first and fourth Fridays in each month. 

Piankeshaw Lodge No. 108 of the Improved Order of Red 
Men meets every Wednesday on the corner of Second and 
Broadway streets. 

The Home Forum, No. 590, of the Home Forum Benefit 
Order, meets every Tuesday on the corner of Seventh and 
Broadway streets. 

St. Francis Xavier Branch No. 256 of the Catholic Knights 
of America meets on the second and fourth Sundays in each 
month at St. Francis Xavier Hall. 

St. John's Branch No. 533 of the Catholic Knights of 
America meets every second and fourth Thursdays in each 
month at St. John's Hall. 

St. Paul Commandery of the Uniform Rank of the Catholic 
Knights of America meets the second and fourth Thursdays of 
each month at St. John's Hall. 

Vincennes Lodge No. 29 of the Ancient Order of United 
Workmen meets every Thursday at the corner of Main and 
Fifth streets. 

Vincennes Lodge No. 291, of the Benevolent and Protective 
Order of Elks meets every Thursday in their hall on the corner 
of Fourth and Main streets. 

The Vincennes Council No. 674 of the National Union 
meets the second and fourth Mondays of each month on cor- 
ner of Main and Fifth streets. 

Plato Council No. 492 of the Royal Arcanum meets every 
Thursday at 310% Main street. 

Molluch Court No. 45 of the Tribe of Ben Hur meets the 
second and fourth Fridays of each month at Odd Fellows 

Tecumseh Camp No. 3945 of the Modern Woodmen of 
America meets first and third Thursdays of each month at 
Odd Fellows Hall. 

150 A History of Vinceknes. 

Elmwood Camp No. 31 of the Woodmen of the World meet* 
last Saturday of each month at the corner of Main and Fifth 

The Fortnightly Literary Club meets the second and fourth 
Wednesdays of each month at the City Hall at 2:30 p. m. 

The Independent Order of B'nai B'rith Etz Chain Lodge 
No. 205 meets first and third Sundays in each month at cor- 
ner of Seventh and Broadway streets. 

Bethlehem Senate No. 150 of the Knights of the Ancient 
Essenic Order meets first and third Tuesdays of each month at 
310i/ 2 Main street. 

Vincennes Lodge No. 936 of the Knights of Honor meets 
first and third Wednesdays of each month at 3101/2 Main 

Eeview Lodge No. 362 of the Knights and Ladies of Honor 
meets on the first and third Mondays of each month at 310 ^o 
Main street. 

The Columbian Reading Circle meets on the second and 
fourth Wednesdays of each month at the residences of the 

St. John's Benevolent Society meets every Sunday at St 
John's School Hall. 

Aaron Mitchener Lodge No. 33 of the United Brothers of 
Friendship (colored) meets first and third Thursdays of each 
month at 102i/o East Main street. 

Lillies of the Valley Temple No. 36, Auxilliary to the 
United Brothers of Friendship, meets second and fourth 
Thursdays of each month at 102% East Main street. 

The Harmonic Verein meets on the corner of Third and 
Busseron streets. 

The Palace Club meets at 526 North Second street. 

The Pastime Club meets on North Second street. 

The Tecumseh Boat Club meets at their boat house on the 
river, foot of Main street. 

Fraternities. 151 

The Teutonia Club meets at St. John's Hall. 

The order of "Americano" was recently initiated in this 

A wandering herd of Noble and Exalted Buffaloes while 
passing through the city last spring were captured, domiciled 
and incorporated with the other fraternal orders of the city. 
Although it comes late it has made rapid strides and it is 
stated by those who claim to be advised that its membership 
equals any other fraternal order in the city. We are not ad- 
vised of the purposes of this order, but from representation s 
of its members we wish it well. It is to be hoped it will exiet 
longer and do more good than either of its illustrious prede- 
cessors, the " Thousand and One" or the "Eclampus Vitus." 
The first and present grand exalted ranchman is Orestes C. 


152 A History of A t incennes. 


Vincennes has been favored since 1834 with educational 
faciliites. Even before that time when Benedict Joseph 
Flaget came in December, 1792, as pastor of the church here, 
he directed his first attention to establishing schools. Out of 
his own scanty means he commenced free schools for the edu- 
cation of the youth. But he was too soon recalled to make any 
permanent headway. When Bishop Brute came here in 1834 
he called to his aid and assistance the Sisters of Charity 
from Bardstown, Kentucky, and opened a free school for the 
education of young ladies. He also opened another free 
school for men and boys. These schools were maintained by 
funds supplied by the bishop himself. He is therefore enti- 
tled to be called the father of the free school system of In- 
diana. He also established St. Gabriel's College here in 1838, 
for higher education which was not free, and which during its 
existence had a large attendance from all parts of the West 
and the South. 

Yet notwithstanding these evidences given by the Catholic 
church of its patronage of learning, it has been claimed and 
believed by the ignorant, that the Catholic church is un- 
friendly to learning. This in the face of the fact that all the 
great universities in Europe were established by the Papacy. 
Some of these universities have passed from the control o f 
Catholic influence since the period of the reformation, but 
honor has compelled some of them to give honor to whom 
honor is due. 

On this subject, Lord MeCauley, on being inaugurated rec- 
tor of the University of Glasgow, uses this language : 



"At a conjuncture of unrivalled interest in the history of 
letters, a man never to be mentioned without reverence by 
every lover of letters, held the highest place in Europe. Our 
attachment to the Protestant religion must not prevent us 
from paying the tribute which on this occasion and in this 
place justice and gratitude demand to the founder of the Uni- 
versity of Glasgow, the greatest of the revivors of learning, 
Pope Nicholas the Fifth." 


And the faculty of this university during the present year 
on the celebration of its 500th anniversary, sent compliment- 
ary resolutions to Pope Leo XIII. acknowledging the debt 
of gratitude the university owed to the papacy, to which the 
Pope appropriately replied. But general publicity has not 
been given to it. This charge against the Catholic church is 
of a kin to that similar charge that the church does not en- 
courage the reading of the scriptures. The fact is that all the 


prophesies of the Old Testament and all the epist'es and gos- 
pels of the New are read and explained during the course of 
each ecclesiastical year. But these false charges were to be 
expected. and were all foretold by the Savior as recorded in 
Mathew, chapter v. verse 11, or more positively in John, chap- 
ter 16, verse 2. These charges are signs of premonition. 

In addition to these schools, at a later date, private schools 
were started by Samuel E. Crosby, Mr. Ennis and Mr. Wil- 
kerson. These latter schools were not free but tuition was 
charged for attendance. 

The school facilities of Vincennes at the present time are 
equal to those of any place in the West, and far superior to 

The Vincennes University is what its name implies, and 
affords opportunity for a higher education equal to any uni- 
versity in the West. It has an active a ? d energetic board of. 
trustees who are fully alive- to the interests of the university. 
It is numerously attended by students from the city and 
county and embraces in its curriculum many from other states. 
No institution of learning offers better facilities for a com- 
plete and finished education than the Vincennes University. 

The public schools of the city are of a high order. The 
High School partakes in a great measure of university feat- 
ures. All branches of learning are there taught. In connec- 
tion with the High School and subordinate thereto, there are 
1st a central school in the heart of the city, 2d the North Vin- 
cennes School, 3d the South West School in the lower part of 
the city, 4th the East Public School in the east part of the 
city, 5th the Southeast Public School for colored children, 
and 6th the school in Oklahoma, a suberb of the city. All 
these schools through the watchful care and vigilance of the 
city trustees are supplied with competent teachers and are 
well attended. These public schools are under the manage- 
ment of the following able and efficient board of trustees: 

Educational. 155 

Eugene Hack, president; Mason J. Niblack, secretary; and T. 
H. Willis, treasurer. 

In addition to these public schools the following other paro- 
chial schools are maintained and are all numerously attended : 

St. Francis Xavier, parochial school for boys and St. Eose 
Academy for girls, under the direction of the Sisters of Provi- 


dence. These schools are practically free as no tuition is 
charged and only those who feel themselves able are expected 
or required to pay for the tuition of their children. 

The St. John's German Catholic Schools for boys and girls 
are also under the care of the Sisters of Providence and are 
numerously attended. 

The St. John's Lutheran School for bovs and girls under 

156 A History op Vincennes. 

the direction of St. John's Lutheran church, and supported 
by the congregation of that church. 

The Evangelical School for boys and girls under the con- 
trol of the Evangelical church and sustained by that congre- 

All these parochial schools are liberally patronized by their 
respective congregations. In the aggregate they have almost 
as large an attendance as at the public schools. 

The Vincennes Shorthand Institute for teaching shorthand 
and which is well patronized and has sent out many pupils 
who have found ready and remunerative employment, both in 
the city and in other states, in all branches of business. 

It will be observed that Vincennes is well supplied with 
school facilities, affording all persons a wide range to select 
from. It is therefore evident that Vincennes affords as good 
if not superior advantages over any point in the West for the 
education of children. 

Manufactures. 157 



Manufacturing industries were not encouraged for many 
years in Vincennes. Within the last twenty years the atten- 
tion of her citizens has been called to their importance and 
strenuous exertions have been put forth to secure them. This 
change is due in a great measure to the Board of Trade and 
the encouragement it has shown for all manufacturing indus- 
tries and to secure their location in this city. 

Many years ago David S. Bonner, a very wealthy man, 
began the manufacture of cotton yarn. He built a large mill 
and employed many men and women. But his venture was 
not successful and involved him in financial ruin. 

Some time after 1848 Christian Kratz and William Heil- 
man came here for the purpose of locating and establishing 
an iron foundry. They wished a location on the river front 
but none of the property owners on the river front would sell 
to them. They remained here some time and failing to secure 
a suitable location, they went to Evansville and there located 
and established an iron foundry which was very successful. 

At a later date Messrs. Miller & Cannon came here for the 
purpose of establishing an iron foundry. They selected an 
old brick stable on the west corner of Second and Buntin 
streets and fitted it up and had their furnace ready toi begin 
work. They had expended all their means in having patterns 
made and other necessary articles connected with their busi- 
ness and were unable to pay their rent. Suit was brought and 
on the judgment recovered their entire plant was sold and 
this infant industry destroyed. The old brick building was 
never used for any purpose and the fine patterns were only 
used for whittling purposes. 

In view of these discouraging facts an enterprising citizen 

158 A History of Vincennes. 

remarked that Vincennes would never advance until there 
were twenty or twenty-five funerals among the wealthy classes 
in the city. Well, that time has come. The times have 
changed and an aggressive spirit has taken hold of the citi- 
zens here. They are now striving with united action for the 
location of all kinds of manufacturing industries. These 
efforts have already been satisfactory and the movement is 
gaining accelerated force with the passing months. Among 
the principal establishments already secured we notice the 
following : 

The Vincennes Bridge Company for the manufacture and 
building of iron bridges, arches and structural work which is 
successfully competing Avith older establishments in other 

The Vincennes Glass Factory now in course of construction 
and nearing completion, for the manufacture of glass. This 
will be one of the largest factories of the kind in the West. 

The Inter-State Distilling Company is one of the largest 
distilleries in the country and is running at its utmost capac- 
ity day and night. 

The Central Foundry Company for the manufacture of 
iron sewer pipe. This is the second largest plant of the kind 
in the United States. 

The Eagle Brewery of Hack & Simon, whose product is 
equal to any in the state and is being supplied not only to 
the city, but to all the surrounding cities and towns. 

The John Ebner Ice Company for the manufacture of ice 
and having a capacity of 200 tons a day. 

The Steam Saw Mill of the Messrs. Glover which employs 
a large force and is doing a large and profitable business. 

The Vincennes Water Supply Company with a plant equal 
to any in the West and having a water tower 210 feet high 
and of sufficient capacity to supply the wants of a city of 
50,000 population. 

Manufactures. 159 

The Vinceimes Egg Case Company for the manufacture of 
egg cases and is run day and night to supply the increasing 
demand for its product. 

The Vincennes Paper Company for the manufacture of 
paper with a splendid plant of the latest and most improved 
machinery and running day and night to enable it to fill its 

The Vincennes Electric Light and Power Company is in 
successful operation. 

The Wabash Valley Foundry for the manufacture of steam 
boilers and all kinds of mill machinery is doing a fine busi- 

The Broadway Mills now being enlarged and furnished 
with new and improved machinery and when completed will 
have a capacity of 200 barrels of flour a day. 

The Vincennes Elevator Company for the purchase and 
storage of all kinds of grain. 

The Atlas Elevator for the purchase and storage of wheat 
and corn, with a storage capacity of a quarter million bushels 
of grain. 

The Atlas Mills for the manufacture of flour and running 
day and night and turning out 200 barrels of flour per day. 

The Baltic Mills for the manufacture of corn meal, and 
running at its utmost capacity day and night to enable it to 
supply its customers. 

The Citizens' Gas Light Company with a fine plant and 
doing a profitable and successful business. 

The City Electric Light Company erected in 1899 and with 
the latest and improved machinery, is now lighting the entire 
city under a contract. 

The Vincennes Citizens' Street Bailroad with a power house 
of its own and running its cars through the business portion 
of the city and to many points in the vicinity. 

The Vincennes Galvanized Iron Works for the manufacture 

160 A History of Vincennes. 

of slate, tin and iron roofing and galvanized iron cornice and 
doing an extensive business and filling large contracts at 
home and in many other states in the North and South. 

The Vincennes Novelty Manufacturing Company for the 
manufacture of all kinds of jewelry and brie a brae and being 
the only establishment of the kind in this country, and is 
being run all the time to enable it to supply the increasing de- 
mand for its products. 

The Vigo Mills for the manufacture of flour and corn meal. 

The Union Elevator Company for the purchase and stor- 
age of all kinds of grain. 

The machine and repair shops of Convery & Recker for the 
repair and manufactureing of all kinds of mill and agricult- 
ural machinery. 

The Wagon Works of J. F. Miller & Sons for the manu- 
facture of wagons and buggies and doing a large business, 
filling orders not only at home but in many foreign states. 

The Wagon and Buggy Works of Salter & Snyder, doing a 
large and profitable business. 

The Hartwell Bros. Company for the manufacture of 
hickory handles and carriage stock generally and running 
constantly to keep up with the demand for its product. 

The Hartman Manufacturing Company for the manufact- 
ure of all kinds of agricultural machinery. 

The Marion Hard Wood Manufacturing Company. 

The Enterprise Stove Company for the manufacture of 
stoves and iron work generally in connection therewith. 

The Dr. Knapp Sanitarium for the treatment of all dis- 
eases of the eye, ear and nose. 

The Grand Hotel, one of the finest hostelries in the West, 
and lately enlarged and improved. 

The Union Depot Hotel has always commanded a large 
share of the patronage of the traveling public and still main- 
tains its rank and business. 

Material Progress. 161 



The progress of Vineennes has been very slow, but sure 
and steady. It has not been of a mushroom character, stim- 
ulated by fictitious booms and destined to retrograde when 
the cause hastening the advance has spent its force. There 
has been no retrograde movement in its history. The United 
States census returns show a healthy advance. Vineennes 
occupied a prominent place in the Northwest when the only 
other places were Detroit and Kaskaskia. Many other cities 
have since sprung up and attained prominence which had no 
existence when Vineennes was an important point. In this 
connection I will notice an incident in connection with Chi- 
cago, now the second city, in the Union in wealth and popu- 
lation. Many years ago the citizens of the then village of 
Chicago, sent a deputation of its citizens to confer with the 
citizens of the city of Vineennes and lay before them the rich 
country around their village and that the only thing they 
lacked was an outlet to the markets of the world for the pro- 
ducts of their land. They came and suggested it would be 
a benefit to the city to aid in building a gravel road from this 
city to their village. A public meeting was called and held 
at Clark's Hotel to consider the proposition. This meeting 
was addressed by John Law, Samuel Judah, John Ewing and 
others of the leading citizens of Vineennes at that time. They 
all took strong ground in favor of the project and urged 
immediate action, as Vineennes to advance must reach out for 
trade. The meeting passed resolutions in its favor and so 
far as resolutions went, determined that the road should be 
built without delay. But nothing was ever done farther than 
adopting resolutions. This was in 1828. 

162 A History of Vincennes. 

There are many causes that can. be assigned for the slow 
advance of Vincennes. Some of these are external and have 
operated without any fault of her citizens. But many can 
be laid directly at the door of her own people, who by their in- 
difference and non-action, permitted golden opportunities to 
pass without taking advantage of them. It is an old saying 
that lightning seldom strikes twice in the same place. 

The capital of the Territory was foolishly removed from 
Vincennes to Cory don in 1814, on account of an imaginary 
fear of an Indian uprising that never had any real foundation. 
This movement was not only unopposed but in fact sanc- 
tioned by her citizens on the ground that the records of the 
Territorial Government might be destroyed. These records 
of any value at the time might have been put in a small box 
and hidden in a hollow tree as the charter of Connecticut was 
hidden in the celebrated Charter Oak. But the removal took 
place to the great detriment of Vincennes. 

Vincennes, although the first seat of civilization and relig- 
ion in the West, has never been favored by legislation. No 
act of Congress was ever passed giving it material aid. The 
same neglect has also been observed by the State Legislation. 
When the Internal Improvement system was determined on 
this discrimination against Vincennes was clearly manifested. 
None of the various improvements entered upon and carried 
on by state aid, ever benefited this place in the least. Take 
the Vincennes and New Albany macadamized road as one 
instance. That road was to be built by funds raised by taxa- 
tion. Vincennes was the most populous and wealthy place 
along its route and furnished in taxation more than any three 
counties on the line. But not a dollar of the money thus fur- 
nished, was expended at this end of the road, but all was 
spent on the eastern end and a fine road from New Albany 
was built to Paoli and no farther. 

Take again, the Wabash and Erie Canal. When the exten- 

Material Progress. 163 

sion of that improvement to the Ohio River was determined 
on from Lafayette south, an immense sum of money would 
necessarily be spent along its course and this expenditure 
would be a great advantage in building up the localities where 
it would be expended. For some cause unknown, Vincenne:, 
was left off the line of this canal, and it was diverted eastward 
from Terre Haute and thus left Yineennes off its course This 
diversion made the length of the canal longer and added 
greatly to the cost of construction. Water to supply it had to 
be supplied by artificial reservoirs and large tracts of rich and 
valuable land overflowed for the purpose which could have 
been supplied by the Wabash River at less cost and without 
damage. The immense amount of money required to make 
the extension to Evansville was all expended, but Vincennes 
received no benefit from this immense expenditure which all 
went to build up rival towns along its route. This immense 
output of money was a great benefit and rich harvest for the 
towns and counties through which it passed during the time 
it was being spent, but that was all the benefit they ever re- 
ceived as the canal was a practical failure and with the advent 
of railroads, was abandoned. These causes operated against 
Vincennes but were matters over which her people had no 
exclusive control. 

But there were other causes operating against Vincennes 
for which they were solely responsible. It is situated in one 
of the richest agricultural districts in the West. These rich 
lands tributary to Vincennes on both sides of the Wabash 
River, in Illinois and Indiana, threw upon her market an- 
nually, the rich and valuable products of their soil. These 
were marketed here and bought up and paid for by the deal- 
ers and merchants of Vincennes and the farmer paid for them 
in high priced goods purchased in the eistern cities. This 
process resulted in a golden harvest for the merchants and 
traders. But the profit they realized from resources tributary 

164 A History of Yixcennes. 

to the place were not invested in industries and manufactu- 
ries calculated to build up and advance the place, but were 
unwisely loaned out to enterprising men in Terre Haute, 
Evansville, Cincinnati and even Philadelphia. The money 
thus loaned was used by the borrowers in establishing manu- 
facturies in these cities to the detriment of Vincennes, where 
the golden egg that enabled them to do these things was laid. 
And it is a well known fact to many citizens now living in 
Vincennes, that for many years the old merchants and busi- 
ness men of the place, discouraged the location of manu- 
facturies here for fear that these goods manufactured here 
would come in competition with their wares purchased in 
eastern cities and thus diminish their profits. 

But all these drawbacks have spent their force. In spite of 
them the city has maintained a steady advance, only stimu- 
lated by its own natural resources. It is evident to the most 
casual observer that a better feeling has dawned upon the 
place. jN^ew men of enterprise and push have come and inau- 
gurated a new programme. In the past fifteen years all the 
improvements which are now the pride of the city have come. 
And these improvements received no aid or encouragement 
but the active opposition of the wealthy citizens of the place. 
The magnificent system of water works which have been con- 
structed, having no superior and but few equals in any city, 
was violently opposed and only secured by a small majority 
at a popular election. The street railroad system was not 
favored or encouraged by many and was secured by the enter- 
prise of a few individual citizens. The splendid electric light 
plant which was erected last )^ear, lighting the city in all its 
parts every night and all night, was secured after a long and 
powerful opposition had spent its force. These and many 
other aids to the upbuilding of a modern city have already 
been secured. They are now operating as powerful factors in 
hastening the onward march of improvement. ISTo such 

Material Progress. 165 

efforts will be required to be put forth in future to secure 
additional aids as were required to obtain the ones we now 
have. These are as it were, levers that have lifted the city 
out of the mire of perdition, stripped it of its swaddling 
clothes and put on it the garments of a rising giant. 

The material structures of the city are being changed. 
There is not in the city a solitary landmark reaching back 
beyond 1800. The oldest house in the city is the Harrison 
mansion, erected in 1S04, and that substantial structure is a 
half century older than the one erected just after it. All the 
old time houses have disappeared and their places have been 
taken by modern houses of architectural designs, and present 
a new and beautiful appearance. The real property of the 
city has to a considerable extent changed owners and this 
change is continuously going on. It may be said that in the 
past twenty years the realty of the city has passed out of the 
hands of the original proprietors into the possession of enter- 
prising men. The material structures of the city are up to 
date and present as attractive appearance as any city in In- 

The hotel interest has caught the improvement fever and 
within the past year the Grand Hotel has been enlarged and 
improved at a great outlay of money so that Vincennes now 
possesses what has been so long wanted, a first class hotel. This 
hotel is really an advertisement of the city as strangers pass- 
ing through a place see more of its hotels than any other of 
its buildings and form their impressions of the place from the 
character of its hotels. 

"Within three years past more substantial buildings have 
been erected in Vincennes than in any twenty years previous 
thereto. This building boom is constantly on the increase 
since it started three years ago. Each succeeding year sur- 
passes the number of buildings erected the previous year. 
During the present year all previous records have been broken 

166 A History op Vincennes. 

and the largest and most costly business houses and residences 
have been erected. 

Some of the wholesale business houses now in course of 
erection are constructed on a mammoth scale and of as large 
dimensions as can be found in any city in Indiana. They are 
also located with an eye to business and economy in receiv- 
ing and shipping goods with a private spur to them from the 
main railroad track so that in the reception and distribution 
of goods all drayage will be avoided. This mode of building 
is original here and will be imitated in this city and else- 
where as its advantages are apparent and will make Vincennes 
an exceptional point for the rapid and cheap distribution of 
goods of all kinds. 

And the end is not yet. The improvement of tbe city is in 
its infancy. This necessarily results from the natural and ac- 
quired resources of the city which offers better inducements 
than any other city in the state at this time for any one seek- 
ing a location for active business or wishing to enjoy life 
"otium cum dignitate." 

While Vincennes has a venerable past on one side, on the 
other side it is on the verge of an opening future full of youth 
and* vitality. While it has a history reaching back to a time 
"whereof the memon" of man runneth not to the contrary," 
it is now like an old man who has laid off his old clothes and 
put on new ones. 

Personal Mention. 167 



The following is a list of the heads of families settled at 
Post Vincermes on or before the 1st of August 1783, to each 
of whom were donated 400 acres of land in the old. Donation 

Louis Alaire, Joseph Andrez, Francois Brouillet, Francois 
Boraye, Jr., John Baptiste Binette, Charles Boneau, Vital 
Bencher, Marie, widow of Louis Bayer, Amable Boulon, 
Charles Bugard, Mitchel Burclelow, Mitchel Brouillet, Fran- 
cois Bosseron, Francois Boraye, Sr., Antoine Burdalow, Sr., 
Lonis Brouillet, Louis Bayer, John Baptiste Cardinal, Fran- 
cois Coder, Pierre Cornoyer, Joseph Chabot, Antoine Cary, 
Francois Compagniat, Jacques Cardinal, Joseph Chartier, 
Xicholas Chapard, Joseph Charpontier, Piere Chartier, Sr., 
Moses Carter, Antoine Dronette, John Baptiste Dubois, John 
Baptiste Duchene, Charles Dielle, Charles Delisle, Pierre 
Daigneau, Antoine Dorrys, Lonis De Claurier, John Baptiste 
Deloyier, Honore Dorrys, Charles Dudevoir, Amable Delisle, 
Jacques Denze, Joseph Ducharme, Bonaventure Drogier, 
Xicholas Ditart, Francois Desauve, Louis Edeline, Joseph 
Flamelin, John Baptiste Javale, Paul Gamelin, Charles Gu- 
sille, Touissaint Coder, Antoine Gamelin, Paul Gamelin, 
Amable Gaurquipie, Alexis A. Gallinois, Pierre Gilbert, John 
Baptist Harpin, Joseph Hunot, Sr., Etienne Jacques, Edward 
Johnson, Jacques Latrimoille, Francois Lognon, Joseph Log- 
non, Jacques Lacroix, Pierre Laforest, Anthony Luneford, 
Charles Languedoc, Jacques Lamotte, Andre Languedoc, 
Pierre Langlois, Joseph Leveron, Louis Laderoute, Francois 
Languedoc, Louis Lamere, John Baptiste Mangen, Pierre 

163 A History op Vincennes. 

Mallet, Antoine Mallet, Andre Montplesir, Louis Meteyer, 
Francois Winie, John Baptiste Mallet, Nicholas Mayat, Fran- 
cois Mallet, Joseph Michael, Antoine Marier, Frederick Mahl, 
Joseph Mallet, John Baptiste Moyes, Michael Nean, John 
Baptiste Quillet, Joseph Perrdeau, Guillaume Payes, Pierre 
Perret, Amable Perron, Pierre Quivez, Sr., John Baptiste St. 
Marie Bacine, Pierre Begnez, Francois Bacine, Pierre Andre 
Bacine, Louis Bavellette, Louis Baupiault, Joseph Baux, Jo- 
seph St. Marie, Joseph Sabelle, John Baptiste, St. Aubin, 
Etienne St. Marie, Francois Turpin, Francois Tuidel, Joseph 
Tougas, Francois Vachette, John Baptiste Yaudray, John 
Baptiste Vaudray, Jr., Francis Vigo, Alexander Vallez, An- 
toine Vaudrez, John Baptiste Vilray, Angelique, widow of 
Etienne Phillibert, Mary Louisa, widow of Nicholas Perrot, 
Felicite, widow of Francois Peltier, Angelique, widow of 
Francois Basinet, Marie, widow of Nicholas Cardinal, Su- 
sanna, widow of Pierre Coder, Marianne, widow of Louis 
Denoyou, Marie, widow of Hyacinthe Denoyou, Veronique, 
widow of Guilleaume Daperon, Francois, widow of Ambrose 
Dagenet, Genevieve, widow of Pierre Gremore, Ann, widow 
of Moses Henry, Catarine, widow of John Baptiste Lafon- 
taine, Madeline, widow of St. Jean Legarde, Veronique, 
widow of Gabriel LaGrande, Marie Louis, widow of John 
Philip Marie Lagras, Louise, widow of Antoine Lefevre, Cat- 
arine, widow of Amable Lardoise, Madeline, Avidow of Joseph 
Stone, Genevieve, wife of Joseph Laboissier, the husband de- 
serted, Benez Godene de Pannah, Agate, widow of Amable 

The following were the effective men belonging to Capt. 
Pierre Gamelin's company at Post Vincennes, July 4th, 1790 : 
Christopher Wyant, ensign; Peter Thorn, sergeant; Frederick 
Mahl, sergeant; Jeremiah Mayes, sergeant; Bichard Johnson, 
cadet; Bobert Johnson, Joseph Cloud, David Pea, John Loc, 
Godfrey Peters, John Murphy, John Lafferty, Frederick Bar- 

Personal Mention. 169 

ger. George Barger, Peter Barger, Frederick Midle, Benja- 
min Beckes, Bobert Day, Edward Sherbrook, John Westfall, 
Edward Johnson, Joshua Harbin, John Bobbins, John Mar- 
tin, Abraham Westfall, James Watts, Thomas Jordan, Will- 
iam Smith, Daniel Smith, James Johnson, Ezekiel Holliclay, 
Michael Thorne, Solomon Thorne, Daniel Thorne, Charles 
Thorne, Christian Barkmari, Abraham Barkman, John Bice 
Jones, Patrick Simpson, John Wilmore, Frederick Lindsay, 
Matthew Dibbons, Hugh Demsey, John Cnlbert, Bobert Grra- 
vert and Isaac Carpenter. 

170 A History of Vincbnnbs. 



Vincennes has been a common center in which congregated 
an array of able and determined men. Most of these became 
permanent residents. Many after a short sojourn went in 
every direction to lay the foundations of society in other 
places, to frame constitutions and laws for the well being of 
generations of civilized people, and to exercise power and 
authority over countries of vast extent. 

It is impossible in a proper limit to enumerate all. Only 
chosen examples illustrative of the qualities of the men who 
laid the foundations of our social structure will be presented. 


This distinguished man was a Canadian by birth. He was 
a trusted officer in the service of the King of France. He 
came here in command of the troops of the king to build the 
old fort in 1702. He came and built the fort near the present 
site of the Catholic church. He did not remain after per- 
forming that service, but returned to Canada, He was there 
entrusted with an expedition against the Indians near De- 
troit, which was successful. The last mention of him in the 
Canadian records is by Le Potheric, who says he was sent to 
command the fort on the "Ouabasche. v When he came, then 
lie remained until his death. He married a daughter of 
Philip Longpre, of Kaskaskia, Illinois. His father-in-law 
died in 1732 and left a large estate which was divided among 
his children. The records in the Recorder's office at Kaskas- 
kia show that de Yincenne went there to look after his wife's 
interest and that his wife was then at the Post here. The 
receipt for her to sign for her share was sent here and she 

Distinguished Personnel. 171 

signed it before witnesses. This receipt is still preserved in 
the Becorder's office at Kaskaskia. 

In 1736 the French were at war with the Chickasaw In- 
dians, inhabiting the country to the south. De Vincenne 
went with the troops of the fort here to attack them. An en- 
gagement with them near where Memphis now stands was dis- 
astrous and he was taken prisoner. He could have escaped 
with the remnant of his force that retreated under De Voisin, 
a French officer, and was entreated to do so. But he refused 
to leave his wounded soldiers and was burned at the stake on 
Faster Sunday, 1736. This place had never been called Vin- 
cennes until after his death in 1736. When the remnant of 
his troops returned here the place was named in his honor. 

After his death his widow returned to her relatives in Kas- 
kaskia. He left an only daughter named Maria Louisa, who 
married Louis De Lisle, and left a large farmily of children 
at Kaskaskia. Some of his descendants were still residing 
there in 1836, and they all prided themselves on their rela- 
tionship to him and added to their signatures the charmed 
words "De Vincenne." 

This celebrated and gifted officer is generally referred to by 
his title de Vincenne and not by his family name Francois 
Morganne. But this is very natural and is the general prac- 
tice in all countries that were under the influence and opera- 
tion of the feudal system. This is evident from Bobertson^s 
history of Charles the Fifth and Hallam's Middle Ages and 
other writers concerning that system. We have instances of 
it in our own political history. All our school children have 
heard of Count de Grass, who rendered such valuable service 
to our fathers in the Bevolutionary war. But this appella- 
tion is his title and not his family name, which was Francois 
Joseph Paul. Again in the case of Count de Eochambeau. 
His family name was Jean Baptiste Donatien. Again in the 
case of Marquis de La Fayette, after whom so many counties, 

172 A History of Vincennes. 

cities and towns in this country are named. His family name 
was Marie Joseph Eoch Gilbert. This custom among the 
French, which was one of the countries under the feudal sys- 
tem, is fully exemplified by that exhausting work con- 
cerning the French in America during the Kevolutionary war, 
by Thomas Balch, in vol. 2 of his work. And the same prac- 
tice obtains to this day in England which was also under the 
operation of the feudal system. To refer to a nobleman by his 
title is the highest compliment that can be given him. John 
Churchill after the Battle of Blenheim, was enobled and given 
the title of Duke of Marlborough. Arthur Wellesley, after 
his victory at Waterloo, was given the title of Duke of Wel- 
lington, and George X. Curzon on his appointment as Vice- 
roy of India, was given the title of Lord Kedleston, and by 
their titles are always addressed and referred to. This cus- 
tom is referred to by Sir Walter Scott in his Waverly novel of 
"The Antiquary." And such was the case with De Vincenne. 
That his family name was Francois Morganne is stated by Ed- 
mond Mallet of the Carroll Institute of Washington City, 
who has made a special study of French Canadian families, 
and is the best authority on that subject. Also by Bishops 
Brute and Bishop Hailandiere. 


He was born at Montreal, Canada, April 7th, 1737. He was 
specially educated with reference to missionary work among 
the Indians of the Northwest. He was ordained priest at 
Quebec, March 19th, 1768. Immediately after he was ap- 
pointed Vicar General of the Archbishop of Quebec for the 
Illinois country. He set out for the field of his life work and 
spent the remainder of his days in missionary labors among 
the Indians and French settlers in the Northwest. He ar- 
rived at Kaskaskia on the 8th of September, 1768, and on that 
clay his first official entry in the Church of the Immaculate 

Distinguished Personnel. 


Conception is made. He found church matters in great con- 
fusion, but by his energy and zeal in all the French settle- 
ments on the Mississippi, he brought order out of confusion. 
In the spring of 1770, he came to Vincennes, and with slight 
interruptions remained here as the pastor of the church until 
17S9. He was unquestionably the ablest man in the North- 
west at that time. He had great influence over all the French 
inhabitants in the Northwest. He was here as parish priest in 
1778, when he heard of the American Revolution, and with 
the instincts of all Frenchmen, he espoused the cause of the 

Pierre Gibault. 

American colonies. He called a public meeting to take place 
in the old fort here which was then unoccupied. He addressed 
the meeting and explained to them the nature of the struggle 
and their duty as Frenchmen and lovers of their native land, 
so as to induce them to unite with the struggling colonies, and 
he administered to them the oath of allegiance to the Ameri- 
can cause. The symbol of the Revolution, a red 
and green flag, was then hoisted over the old 
fort. This was in 1778. When news of this reached 
the Canadian authorities, Gov. Henry Hamilton was 

174 A History op Vincennes 

sent here with an armed force to counteract the movement. 
He came and retook the fort and arrested Father Gibault and 
held him a prisoner for some time. He finally agreed to re- 
lease him if he would leave the place. To this Father Gibault 
agreed and he returned to Kaskaskia. This expulsion was a 
jorovidential hajapening and placed him in a position where 
his influence was equally great and where he could render 
Gen. Clark substantial aid when he arrived with his small and 
tired army July 4th, 1778. It was certainly through the in- 
fluence of this influential and magnetic man that the gates of 
that fortified place were opened to receive him without firing 
a gun or losing a man. The same influence induced all the 
French settlements on the Mississippi to do the same thing. 

It was unquestionably Father Gibault that suggested and 
planned the expedition to capture the old fort here. This was 
not in the line of Gen. Clark's instructions and had never been 
mentioned by him or any of his command until after the 
bloodless capture of Kaskaskia. It was certainly his influence 
that furnished Gen. Clark with two companies of Frenchmen 
from Kaskaskia to aid him in his capture of the fort here. It 
is well known that Father Gibault addressed the troops on 
their departure from Kaskaskia for the Wabash and gave 
them his blessing. He induced his friend and parishioner, 
Francis Vigo, an Indian trader, at the present site of St. 
Louis, to furnish means to aid the expedition. He also fur- 
nished guides to conduct the force over the overflowed and icy 
wilderness to this place. Gen. Clark with his small and worn 
out force arrived here on February 24, 1779, and on the next 
day compelled Gov. Hamilton to surrender the fort for want 
of munitions of war and necessary supplies. The flag of Vir- 
ginia, perhaps, was raised over the old fort here and the Eng- 
lish dominion was at an end forever. 

Father Gibault died at New Madrid, Missouri, in 1804, and 
his body was sent to Canada, and this grand historical char- 

Distinguished Personnel. 


acter who did so much for civilization and religion in the 
Northwest, sleeps his last sleep in a lonely and unmarked 


He was a descendant of a Virginia family, settled in Albe- 
marle and Caroline comities. He was commissioned by Pat- 
rick Henry, Governor of Virginia, to organize a military 
force and proceed to capture the English fort at Kaskaskia. 
He undertook the task but failed to gather the force or muni- 

Gen. George Rogers Clark. 

tions of war authorized by his commission. He only succeeded 
by his own account in raising 150 men and with this force he 
started from the Falls of the Ohio River at Louisville, in open 
boats, on June 28, 1778, and after a tedious voyage of five 
days down the Ohio River, he left his boats a few miles below 
the mouth qf the Tennessee River and proceeded by land 
without a road and through a desert country to Kaskaskia. 
He arrived there on the opposite bank of the Kaskaskia River 

176 A History of Vincennes. 

on July 3d, 1778. The next day he crossed the river and ob- 
tained possession of Kaskaskia without firing a gun or losing 
a man. The same thing he accomplished in the same blood- 
less manner in all the French settlements of the Mississippi 

He then formed an expedition to capture the old fort here, 
the real key to the possession of the Northwest. With a force 
augmented by two companies furnished him at Kaskaskia, he 
started February 5, 1779, on his campaign against the Eng- 
lish fore here. He arrived here after many hardships incident 
to the overflowed condition of the country on the 24th of Feb- 
ruary, 1779, and on the next day compelled Gov. Hamilton, 
the English commander, to surrender the fort and hoisted the 
flag of Virginia over it. This result was also accomplished 
without the loss of a single man. The English lost the entire 
Northwest territory out of Avhich the five great and populous 
states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin 
have been formed. 

Gen. Clark for this service was granted a large tract of land 
in Clark county, Indiana, which was divided among the troops 
of his command. He died at a plantation called "Locust 
Grove" near Louisville, Kentucky, on the 12th of February, 


He was a native of Mondovi in the Kingdom of Sardinia, 
born about the year 1747. He left his native place and went 
to Spain and enlisted as a Spanish soldier. With his com- 
pany he came to New Orleans. He soon left the military 
service and went up the Mississippi Eiver and located at an 
Indian village on the high lands on the site of the present 
City of St. Louis. He began to trade with the Indians and 
although he was illiterate, was a successful trader. He be- 
came possessed of a large estate for that early day. He was at 
that Indian village on the Mississippi River when Gen. Clark 

Distinguished Personnel 


arrived at Kaskaskia, and without difficulty, obtained pos- 
session of that French village. After Gen. Clark had obtained 
possession of Kaskaskia and the other French villages on the 
Mississippi Eiver, it was determined to undertake an expedi- 
tion from Kaskaskia to capture the old fort on the Wabash at 
Tincennes. When that expedition was planned, Col. Vigo 
was induced to furnish aid and means to carry it on. It is 
safe to claim that the influence that operated on Col. Vigo 
was Father Pierre Gibault. Gen. Clark was not known to 
Col. Vigo. He was, however, a member of Father Gibault's 

Francis Vigo. 

congregation and he had great influence over him. Father 
Gibault at the request of Col. Vigo, had erected the first Cath- 
olic church in the Indian village where Col. Vigo resided. 
However this may be, it is certain that Col. Vigo furnished 
money and support, if Congress appropriations are to be be- 
lieved, to aid the expedition. After Gen. Clark captured the 
fort here, Col. Vigo came to Vincennes and located and con- 
tinued to reside here until his death in 1836. 

He was induced to come and locate here in consequence of 
the land grants of Congress to the French, and he began to 
trade with the Indians and the French inhabitants who had 

178 A History of. Vincennes. 

been granted lands by Congress. He was again successful 
and by the time the United States Commissioners came here 
to adjust French land grants in 1804, he had become the 
largest land proprittor here. He was successful when trading 
with the red savage or the ignorant Frenchman, but when he 
came in contact with the educated class that came here, when 
the territory was organized, this vast estate disappeared as the 
morning mist is dissipated by the rising sun and he died in 
1836, an object of charity. 

When Col. Vigo came here he was unmarried, but he mar- 
ried a Miss Shannon. She lived but a short time after the 
marriage and bore him no children. At his death he left no 
heirs of his body and no known blood kindred. The only re- 
latives he left were by affinity with his wife. 

When he came and long before, he was a devout Catholic. 
It was through his exertions that many priests were sent here 
by Bishop John Carroll of Baltimore, before and after 1796. 
He was a very zealous Catholic in all church functions and his 
name appears on the church register as godfather at many 
baptisms and as witness to many marriages. This continued 
until he became too old to attend to such church matters. 
When the church here was incorporated in 1807, he was 
elected one of the trustees and so continued until 1822 and 
attended all meetings of the trustees. Yet his body after his 
death was buried in a Protestant cemetery. 

He was poor and wanting the necessaries of life at the time 
of his death. When the branch of the State Bank of Indiana 
was organized here in 1831, the first five dollar bill issued by 
the branch was made payable to Col. Vigo. He would not use 
this money although in distress, but depositel the bill in the 
archives of the Vincennes Historical and Antiquarian Society 
as a relic. It remained there for many years after the death 
of Col. Vigo. It was abstracted from the archives of that 
society by one John Decker, and put in circulation. Efforts 

Distinguished Personnel. 179 

were made to secure its return, but with what success is not 

Col. Vigo had a claim before Congress for remuneration on 
account of the advances he had furnished Gen. Clark. It was 
never paid until forty years after his death. At the time of 
payment by Congress he had no blood relations to become ben- 
eficiaries of the appropriation. He had employed John Law, 
Abner T. Ellis and Luther H. Reed as attorneys to prosecute 
this claim, who were to receive their compensation out of any 
funds Congress might appropriate. 

In relation to this claim he frequently stated that the gov- 
ernment was slow in allowing it and that he had become too 
old for it to be of any use to him, and that if ever paid, the 
Catholic church should have it. He made this statement to 
Bishop Brute when on his death bed at the house of Betsy La- 
Plante. But the claim was not paid until forty years after 
his death and the church got nothing out of the appropriation 
made by Congress. In 1834 he executed what purported to be 
his last will. But this document on account of remarkable 
provisions in it, was thought by his friends to have been exe- 
cuted when he was "non compos." When Mr. English was 
here looking up data for his history, he requested the author 
to accompany him to the Catholic cemetery and show him the 
grave of Col. Vigo. When informed Col. Vigo was not buried 
in the Catholic but in the Protestant cemetery, he expressed 
surprise. He was accompanied to the Protestant cemetery and 
his neglected grave hunted up and after cutting away the 
briers and scraping away the moss on the plain slab lying on 
his grave, we found the elate of his death erroneously given. 
This fact satisfied us that the plain slab had been placed there 
by some good Samaritan not acquainted with the facts 
connected with his death. In the remarkable will exe- 
cuted during his declinging years it is provided that after 
paying the lawyers' fees the balance of any money appro- 

180 A History op Vincbnnes. 

priated by Congress on his claims, should be used in 
buying a small bell for the Court House of Vigo County, 
Indiana, which was named in his honor, and the 
entire balance should be paid to Francis McKee and 
Archibald McKee. The will appointed Albert Badollet, 
George W. Ewing and Archibald McKee, one of his devisees, 
his executors. Messrs. Badollet and Ewing never qualified, 
but McKee did, and took upon himself the sole execution of 
the trust. The will also contained the provision that after 
death his body should be disposed of in any manner his exec- 
utors might see proper. This clause particularly caused re- 
marks and his friends doubted his sanity at the time of its 
execution. He died at the house of Betsy LaPlante, who lived 
in a rented frame house on the southwest side of Main street 
michvay between Fourth and Fifth streets. She was a poor 
French woman and attended him in his last sickness and until 
his death, March 22, 183G, and never received any compensa- 
tion for her services. Andrew Gardner was the undertaker 
who buried his remains and for his services charged the rea- 
sonable and modest sum of twenty dollars. But this small 
charge was not paid until forty years after his death and is 
one of the few debts against his estate that were ever paid. 
His executor and devisee never filed any inventory of his es- 
tate or made any final report of the amount Congress allowed 
on the claim or the manner it was disbursed, and did not pay 
the costs of the administration or the printing of the funeral 
tickets. Senator Voorhees stated the original claim of Col. 
Vigo for supplies furnished Gen. Clark was $8,016. But 
this claim was not allowed until 1875 when it was allowed 
with the addition of $11,282.60 for interest. This large sum 
was allowed forty years after the death of Col. Vigo, who had 
no blood relations to be benefited, and it all went to persons 
who had not ministered to him in his hour of distress. 

Distinguished Personnel. 181 

He was buried in the Protestant cemetery on the 22d of 
March, 1836, with the honors of war. 


He was a native of Culpepper, County of Virginia. He 
came to Vincennes and permanently located in 1783. He was 
a prominent member of the bar and was the first attorney ad- 
mitted to practice in the courts here. He filled many offices 
of trust under the borough organization and also under the 
territorial government. He was twice elected to the bench 
as President Judge of the Knox Circuit Court. He was fre- 
quently elected to represent the county in the legislature. He 
was an enthusiastic Mason. He compiled the first code of 
laws of the Indiana Territory. He resided on the west corner 
of First and Hart streets in a house that was torn down the 
present year. He died October 26th, 1833, and was buried 
with Masonic honors. 


He was a Frenchman by birth and came to the Wabash 
country from Canada in 1797. He remained here in business 
until 1833, when he removed to Logansport, Indiana. He 
was a practical Catholic and was one of the trustees of the 
church as long as he resided here. He was in the military 
service of the government when Zachary Taylor was com- 
mandant of Fort Knox. When Col. Taylor was promoted for 
his gallant defense of Fort Harrison in 1813, Gen. Lasselle 
was promoted and succeeded him as commandant of Fort 
Knox. He erected a very large frame hotel on the west corner 
of Second and Perry streets, which was the principal hotel 
of the town as long as he remained here. It was destroyed by 
fire in 1871. Gen. Lasselle was one of the most active and 
influential citizens of the place and his removal to Logansport 
was generally regretted. 


A History of Vixcennes. 


He was born at Burkeley, Virginia, on the banks of the 
James EiYer. He descended from a revolutionary ancestry. 
His father, Benjamin Harrison, was one of the signers of the 
Declaration of Independence. He was educated in Virginia, 

Gen. Harrison. 

and imbibed the principles of the great men of that state. He 
belonged to a wealthy family who had great influence in the 
state and nation, and enabled him to obtain honorable and 
remunerative employment. He was appointed the first Gov- 
ernor of Indiana Territory and came to this place in 1801.. 

Distinguished Personnel. 183 

When he came he found Vincennes in reality a French vil- 
lage, as there were bnt few persons in the place who spoke or 
understood any language except the French. When he came 
there was not a brick house in the place. He erected in 1804, 
on his plantation called "G-rouseland," adjoining the village, 
a tine brick mansion which yet stands and will bear contrast 
with any brick structure in the city. He was the patron of 
learning and education and was instrumental in founding the 
Vincennes Library and the Vincennes University. He com- 
manded the troops in the bloody battle of Tippecanoe, fought 
with the Indians in November, 1811. He was the candidate 
of the Whig party in the memorable political contest of 1840, 
when he was elected the ninth President of the United States 
over Martin Van Buren, by a large majority of the electoral 
vote. He was inaugurated President on the 4th of March, 
1841, and one month after on April 4th, 1841, he died in the 
presidential mansion at Washington City. His remains were 
brought to Ohio and buried on his homestead estate at North 
Bend on the Ohio River, a few miles below Cincinnati. Gen. 
Harrison had represented Ohio in the Senate of the United 
States before he was elected President. He left Vincennes 
the latter part of October, 1811, on his way to tight the battle 
of Tippecanoe, and never returned here to reside. He was 
soon after the battle of Tippecanoe appointed a major-general 
in the United States army and was engaged in military oper- 
ations in the North and fought the battle of the Thames in 
which Tecumseh, the celebrated Indian chief, was killed. 
Although he never returned to this place to reside, he was held 
in high esteem by the citizens. In the presidential election of 
1840, on account of his personal popularity, he received a 
large vote in this city and county. He visited Vincennes in 
1835, and was at the house of Elihu Stout, where the writer 
saw him frequently. 

(13 'l 

184 A History op Vincennes. 


He was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in May,_ 
1710. He was appointed the first Secretary of the Indiana 
Territory and came here with Gen. Harrison in 1801. He re- 
mained here until April, 1814, when as acting Governor of 
the Territory, he removed with the capital to Corydon. He 
was an honest man and capable official. During his long offi- 
cial life he was always above temptation or suspicion, and left 
an official record without a blemish. He had went through 
severe and trying service in various Indian wars before he 
came here. He was the interpreter to whom Logan, the cele- 
brated Mingo chief, delivered the speech which has been im- 
mortalized by Jefferson in his notes on Virginia. He died at 
'"Braddocks Fields" near the City of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, 
at the residence of George Wallace, his son-in-law, on April 
1 9th, 1822, in the 82d year of his age. 


He was born in the City of Geneva, Switzerland, in the 
year 1758. He was the son of a Lutheran minister. A strong 
friendship and attachment sprung up between him and Albert 
Gallatin. They came to the United States together and ar- 
rived here about 1776. He first settled in Pennsylvania and 
during his residence there was entrusted with various state 
offices. Through the influence of his friend Albert Gallatin, 
he was appointed the first Eegistrar of the United States land 
office at this place, and came and permanently located here 
and remained until his death. He discharged the complicated 
duties of the Registrar's office with such exactness that no er- 
rors have been detected in his work. • He continued as Regis- 
trar of the land office until 1836, when he resigned and his 
son, Albert Badollet, was appointed in his place. He was one 
of the commissioners appointed by the United States to adjust 
land srrants in the Yincennes District. He was elected a mem- 

Distinguished Personnel. 185 

ber of the convention that framed the first Constitution of 
Indiana in 1816. He served on many important committees 
in that convention and was an influential and useful member. 
He died universally regretted, July 29, 1837. 


He was appointed the first Receiver of Public Monies of 
the land office here. He came here to discharge the duties of 
that office and remained here until his death. He was one of 
the United States Commissioners to adjust land titles in the 
Vincennes District. He was one of the many able men who 
came here during territorial clays. He was full of resources 
and was always ready to encourage any enterprise calculated 
to benefit the place. He died August 6, 1846, at his county 
seat four miles east of Vincennes. His remains were brought 
to this city and buried in the public cemetery and a fine mon- 
ument erected over his grave. He left six children, three 
sons and three daughters. Caroline married Dr. George W. 
Mears, of Indianapolis; Harriet married James Farrington, 
of Terre Haute ; and Sarah married John Law. G-eorge W. 
Ewing was elected Probate Judge and acquired the title of 
the "Orphans' Friend." William L. Ewing went to St. Louis 
and engaged in banking and accumulated a large fortune. 
James Ewing remained here and was a successful business 


He was a Virginian by birth and was^a descendant of Rev- 
olutionary ancestors. He came to Vincennes a stranger to 
fortune, and fame, as a United States military officer, to take 
command of Fort Knox. He began his military career here 
and gained his first distinction by his gallant defense of 
Fort Harrison in 1811, which brilliant achievement se- 
cured his promotion. He resided in Vincennes with his fam- 
ily and here his daughter, Jessie Taylor, who afterwards mar- 


A History op Vincennes. 

ried Jefferson Davis in a runaway match, was born. He left 
here with his family after 1812 and was stationed at Baton 
Rouge. Louisiana, in command, of the Department of the 
Gulf, He was in command here at the breaking out of the 
Mexican war and commanded the army at the storming of 

Zachary Taylor. 

Matamoras and the battles of Saltillo and Buena Yista. He 
was elected the twelfth President of the United States in 
1848, and was inaugurated March 4, 1849. He died in the 
executive mansion at Washington City during his term, on 
July 4th, 1850. 


He was born on the farm of his father, General Henrj' 
Sullivan, near Louisville, Kentucky. He studied law and was 
admitted to practice. He was a brother-in-law of Elihu 
Stout, and came here and practiced his profession for many 
years. He was honored while here with many marks of popu- 
lar favor. He was often elected to office under the old 
borough and was one of the first postmasters of Vincennes. 
He was several times elected a member of the Legislature and 
also Prosecuting Attorney. He was very successful in his 
practice and had the reputation of being one of the most elo- 
quent men at the bar of his time. He was employed in the 

Distinguished Personnel. 187 

defense in grave criminal cases at home and abroad. In one 
of such cases he received as a fee the portrait of his namesake, 
George Kogers Clark. This was one of the only two that were 
ever painted from life. He brought it to Vincennes and it is 
now preserved in the Vincennes University. He married 
Helen Vanderburg, one of the daughters of Judge Vander- 
burg, and raised a large family of children. He removed from 
here and went to Quincy, Illinois, where he died. Many of 
his descendants now reside there and occupy prominent places 
in society. 


He was born in Kentucky and was a member of the cele- 
brated Buckner family of that state. He studied law and 
was admitted to the bar. He came here to practice law. When 
the capital was removed to Corydon, he left and located at 
Charlestown, Indiana. He continued to practice law there. 
When the Grand Lodge of Masons was organized he was 
elected the first Grand Master. He removed to Missouri and 
when that state was admitted into the Union, he was elected 
one of its Senators in the United States Senate. He died in 
the prime of life of the cholera in 1833, and was buried at 
night by negro servants in a lonely grave which remained un- 
marked until a few years ago. The Grand Lodge of Masons 
of Indiana in 1897, took action in the matter and appointed 
a committee to go and seek out his lonely grave and erect over 
his remains a suitable monument. This committee of which 
Mason J. Kiblack of this city, was chairman, went in the dis- 
charge of their duty and found his lonely grave and trans- 
ferred his remains to St. Gerard cemetery on the Mississippi 
Eiver and erected over this new made grave a suitable mon- 
ument properly inscribed to mark his final resting place. This 
action of the Masonic Grand Lodge was creditable to the order 
and negatives the oft repeated saying "Out of sight out of 

188 . A History of Vincennes. 


He was born in New Jersey, September 29, 1777, and re- 
moved to this place in 1801. He filled many offices under the 
territorial government. He was elected a delegate to Congress 
from the Territory. He resided here in the house on the cor- 
ner of First and Hart streets, which was known as '"Park 
Place." On the organization of the state government he was 
appointed the first Federal Judge for the District of Indiana. 
On receiving this appointment in order to be nearer Corydon, 
the capital of the state, he removed to Salem, where he con- 
tinued to reside until his death August 12, 1835. He was still 
the District Judge of Indiana at the time of his death. 


He was born in Maryland and was. an accomplished scholar 
and lawyer, and very eloquent. He married into the family 
of Charles Carroll, one of the signers of the Declaration of 
Independence. He came to Vincennes with his family when 
the state government was organized and was admitted to the 
bar here in 1818, and commenced the practice of law here. 
He soon rose to the front rank of his profession. A brilliant 
career was opening before him when a false report connected 
him with the wife of Cleves Harrison. She was a pure and 
cultured woman and the daughter and only child of Gen. 
Pike. Although the rumor had no foundation and was dis- 
credited by the people generally, and thought to have been 
originated by jealous rivals, it so operated upon his pure and 
sensitive nature as to induce him to terminate his connection 
with the place and return to his native state. 


He was a native of New Jersey and a graduate of Prince- 
ton College. He commenced the practice of law here and 
became a popular favorite. He was elected a member of the 

Distinguished Personnel. 189 

Legislature and was made Speaker of the House. He was 
the first President Judge of the Knox Circuit Court. He 
was appointed September 10, 1817, one of the Judges of the 
Supreme Court of Indiana, to fill a vacancy caused by the 
death of John Johnson. He remained continuously on the 
bench of the Supreme Court until January 3d, 1853. He 
was afterwards appointed one of the Judges of the United 
States Court of Claims at Washington City. He was not a 
speaker of any force and made few speeches, but was re- 
garded as a well read lawyer and safe counsellor. He will be 
remembered in Indiana on account of the many able decisions 
he rendered while on the Supreme Bench and for the eight 
volumes of the decisions of that court which bear his name. 
He married a Miss Johnson of this county, but their marriage 
relations were not pleasant and they separated many years 
before his death and never lived together after the separa- 
tion. He had one son, George Blackford, by his marriage 
with Miss Johnson, who was finely educated by his father 
and gave indications of becoming a worthy successor of his 
father but died before reaching manhood. Judge Blackford 
at the time of his death was very wealthy and owned much 
valuable real estate in the business center of Indianapolis. 


This learned man and able lawyer came to Vincennes soon 
after the organization of the state government. He was 
elected President Judge of the Knox Circuit Court and dur- 
ing his term presided during the trial of Thomas McKinney 
for the murder of James Boyd, and during the trial of Will- 
iam Cox, a colored man, for committing a rape on a Miss 
Smith. Both were convicted of the charges against them and 
were sentenced to be hung and were accordingly e'xecuted, 
McKinney on the 22d of .October, 1822, and Cox on April 9, 
j 824. These were the only persons ever executed in Knox 

190 A History op Vincennes. 

county in accordance with the sentence of a court until the 
execution of Sylvester G-rubb in April, 1889. Judge Call 
was elected to Congress from this district over Thomas H. 
Blake in 1824. He was never married, but at the time of his 
death, was engaged to Miss Ellen Egan, a lady residing in 
Lexington, Kentucky. He went there for the purpose of 
being married in 1825. He died very suddenly before the 
ceremony was performed and it was generally supposed he 
committed suicide. 


He was a native of Lunenberg County, Virginia. He 
studied law and came here in territorial days to practice his 
profession. He rose rapidly in public estimation and was 
elected Judge of the Common Pleas Court. When the state 
was admitted into the Union in 1816, he was elected one of 
the United States Senators as the colleague of James Noble. 
He took his seat in the Senate of the United States, Decem- 
ber 12th, 1816, and drew the term expiring March 4th, 1819. 
He was the first and only United States Senator elected who 
resided here when elected. He died at his mothers house in 
Lunenberg County, Virginia, August 26, 1826. 


He was a native of Virginia and a blood relation of the 
celebrated John Eandolph of Boanoke, and also of Thomas 
Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence. He 
was a lawyer of superior ability, a' fine scholar and forcible 
speaker. He was the United States Attorney for the District 
of Indiana. In 1809 he was a candidate for delegate in Con- 
gress against Jonathan Jennings. Being a Virginian by 
birth and an intimate friend of Gov. Harrison, who was 
known to be favorable to the suspension of the operation of 
the ordinance of 1787, forbidding slavery for a term of 
years, he was charged by the friends of Mr. Jennings to be 

Distinguished Peksonnel. 191 

secretly in favor of slavery. Mr. Randolph denied this charge 
and challenged Dr. McNamee, an ardent supporter of Jen- 
nings, who circulated the charge, to fight a duel. But Mc- 
Namee refused to accept the challenge. A paper was started 
here to oppose Randolph and assist in the election of Jen- 
nings. The contest was very hitter and resulted in the defeat 
of Mr. Randolph by a majority of 43 votes. 


He was born in the State of Ohio. In early life he removed 
to Lexington, Kentucky. He studied law and came here and 
commenced his brilliant career. He was married here by 
Rev. Samuel R. Alexander, on April 4th, 1829, to Miss Mar- 
garet C. Duncan. After practicing his profession here for 
several vears he removed to Covington, Indiana. He was 
elected to the 23d and 24th Congresses from his district. In 
1843 he was elected to the Senate of the United States to 
succeed Oliver H. Smith, and served one full term of six years 
in that body. He was regarded as the most eloquent member of 
the Senate during his service. He delivered an extempore 
eulogy on the death of Henry Clay, the "Great Commoner," 
which was regarded by the country as a master performance. 
During the presidential election of 1844, the Democratic 
party declared in favor of fixing the Oregon boundary line at 
54 degrees, 40 minutes or fight. But after the election 
Mr. Polk yielded to the demands of Great Britain and the 
boundary line was fixed at 49 degrees. For this concession 
Mr. Hannegan denounced the President in a speech of great 
power on the floor of the Senate in the course of which he 
used the memorable expression, "by this act of perfidy the 
President has sunk himself so low in popular estimation that 
the hand of resurrection would never reach him." After the 
close of his senatorial career he left the state and located at 
St. Louis to practice his profession. But soon after he died 


A History op Vincennes. 

of a broken heart occasioned by the homicide of his friend 
and brother-in-law, under an insane impulse. 


He was born in the City of New. York in 1798. He came 
to Indiana and first located at Merom in Sullivan County. 
But he soon came here and located and remained here until 
his death. He was regarded as one of the ablest lawyers in 
the state. His reputation was not confined to the limits of 
the state. He was frequently employed in important cases in 

Samuel Judah. 


other states. In the court here he was employed on one side 
of every important case that came before the court for trial. 
He was the chief counsel employed by the Vincennes Uni- 
versity in the long and tedious litigation springing from the 
unjust attempt of the Indiana Legislature to deprive the Vin- 
cennes University of the grant of lands made to it by Con- 
gress. When the case was in the state courts, Mr. Judah 
was before an unfriendly tribunal and the decisions were 
always against him. But not discouraged by the adverse de- 
cisions of the state court, he persevered and appealed to the 
Supreme Court of the United States, and was there success- 

Distinguished Personnel. 198 

fill and finally prevented the state from diverting the land 
grants for the benefit of the Indiana University. Mr. Judah 
married Harriet Brandon, a daughter of Alexander Brandon, 
and three sons and three daughters were the fruit of this 
marriage. Of the daughters, Mrs. Alice Clark alone survives. 
The three sons are living. John M. Judah is a leading at- 
torney of Indianapolis. Noble Judah occupies a prominent 
position at the bar and in political circles in Chicago. Sam- 
uel B. Judah resides in Vincennes and is the Deputy Revenue 
Collector of this district and collects monthly about a quarter 
million dollars of internal revenue. Mr. Judah died at Vin- 
cennes, April 24, 1869, and was buried in the city cemetery. 


He was born in New England. He came here and com- 
menced the practice of law. He secured a large and lucrative 
practice and accumulated a large estate. He was for many 
years President of the Board of Trustees of the Borough of 
Vincennes. He was an active promoter in organizing the 
Wabash Navigation Company and in building the lock and 
clam at the grand rapids of the Wabash River. He was one 
of the persons who advocated the building of the Ohio and 
Mississippi Railroad connecting the Ohio and Mississppi 
Rivers by a railroad extending from Cincinnati, Ohio, 
through Vincennes to St. Louis. He was instrumental in 
procuring a charter from the States of Ohio, Indiana and 
Illinois, to authorize the building of the road. He was 
elected the first president of the corporation formed to build 
it and was re-elected several times. The road was finally 
biult and in great part through his active support. He was 
elected Probate Judge of Knox County and also a State Sen- 
ator from Knox County. After an active life and the ac- 
cumulation of a large estate, he died in this city in October, 
1864, in embarrassed circumstances. 

194 A History op Vincennes. 


He was born in Somerville, New Jersey, and was a gradu- 
ate of Princeton College. He came to Vincennes when a very 
young man but must have had winning and attractive man- 
ners as he was elected soon after, and became President Judge 
of the Knox Circuit Court. But he did not hold the position 
very long as he died during his term, February 22, 1822. 


He came to Vincennes during territorial days and com- 
menced his active business life here. He was a lawyer by 
profession. He was elected President Judge of the Knox 
Circuit Court in 1817. He was a young man when he came 
here and married Theresa Punyea, a daughter of one of the 
old resident French families of Vincennes. The family re- 
sided on the corner of Main and Sixth streets, where the 
Presbyterian parsonage now stands. The father and mother 
of his wife lived to an advanced age, being over ninety years 
old at death. Judge Prince was elected to Congress from 
this district in 1824, but died during his term of office. When 
Gibson County was organized in 1813, Judge Prince removed 
there with his family and "Princeton," the county seat was 
named in his honor. He left surviving him, two daughters, 
one of whom married Samuel Hall, once Lieutenant-Gover- 
nor of Indiana, and afterwards President of the Evansville 
and Terre Haute Eailroad. Many of his descendants are 
now living in Princeton. He died in 1824. 


He was the first Eoman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of 
Vincennes. He was born in Eennes, France, March 20, 1779, 
of noble parentage. He was finely educated and prepared for 
a medical profession and a bright field in his native country 
was open before him. But he turned his back upon it and 

Distinguished Personnel. 195 

determined to enter the ministry and fill up the ranks de- 
pleted by the fury of the French Eevolution. He arrived at 
Baltimore, Md., August 10, 1809. He was first engaged in 
teaching in a seminary in Baltimore, but was soon transferred 
to Mt. St. Mary's College at Emmitsburg. He built up this 
college and made it one of the principal seats of learning in 
this country, a reputation it still enjoys. While quietly em- 
ployed at this college he was, against his wishes, appointed the 
first Bishop of the newly created Diocese of Vincennes, then 
in an impoverished and unorganized condition. He was con- 
secrated by Bishop Flaget of Louisville, at St. Louis, and in 
company with Bishops Flaget and Purcell, came here and 
took possession of his pauper diocese, saying his first mass in 
the unplastered cathedral on November 5, 1831. He soou 
gained the esteem of the people generally and by his charita- 
ble and virtuous deportment, acquired the reputation of sanc- 
tity. He died on the 26th of June, 1839, and his remains 
are entombed in the basement chapel of the cathedral. 


He was the second Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Vin- 
cennes. He was born in the Town of Comborg, France, 
May 2, 1798. The French Eevolution was still desolating 
France and the Beign of Terror was exterminating the priest- 
hood. Being of noble birth and assured of an honorable 
career in civil life, he determined to join the ministry and fill 
up its thinned ranks. He was ordained priest at Paris on 
May 28, 1825. When Bishop Brute was in France seeking 
priests for his diocese, he met him and determined to accom- 
pany him to this country and aid him in the work of build- 
ing up his diocese. He arrived at Vincennes in the fall of 
1836. He was assigned to work as parish priest at Vin- 
cennes and continued to labor in that position until the 
death of Bishop Brute. At that time he was in France solic- 

196 A History op Vincennes. 

iting funds for the diocese. He was appointed the second 
bishop while in France and was consecrated at the Chapel of 
the Sacred Heart in Paris, by Bishop Janson, assisted by the 
Bishops of Versailles and Beauvais. Soon after his conse- 
cration, he started for Vincennes and arrived here November 
14, 1839. He had succeeded in collecting a large sum of 
money in France which he used in finishing the cathedral. 
He was a man of liberal ideas and good judgment and fore- 
sight and prudently purchased real estate in all parts of the 
diocese, which was of great value to the church. He contin- 
ued to preside over the diocese until 1848, when he resigned 
the see and returned to his ancestral home in France. Here 
he lived in retirement on his estate atTriandin, France, until 
he died on May 1, 1882. He never forgot the diocese of Vin- 
cennes and every year sent from his private means considera- 
ble sums of money to aid the diocese. He always expressed 
a wish to be buried in Vincennes. In accordance with this 
desire, his nephew, Ernest Audran, went to France and pro- 
cured his remains, and brought them to Vincennes, and on 
the 22d of November, 1882, they were entombed with appro- 
priate religious services in the basement chapel of the cathe- 


He was the fourth Bishop of Vincennes. He was born at 
La Salvetat in the Diocese of Montpelier, in the south of 
France, November 15, 1811. He was descended from an 
ancient and noble family. He could trace his ancestry back 
through centuries. His family was wealthy. But he decided 
on a ministerial course and for this purpose was educated at 
the celebrated Seminary of St. Sulpice at Paris. He finished 
his theological studies at this seminary and was ordained 
priest by Bishop Brute when he was on a visit to France. He 
determined to devote his life to missionary work in the West. 
He came to Vincennes and was assigned to duty in various 

Distinguished Personnel. 197 

parts of the diocese. He was for some time at Chicago, when 
it was a mere village. He was afterwards at Logansport and 
other small missionary stations in the state, undergoing all 
the hardships and privations incident to pioneer life in the 
wilderness. He was on the death of Bishop Bazin, appointed 
the fourth Bishop of Vincennes on October 3, 1848. On the 
14th of January, 1849, he was consecrated Bishop in St. 
Francis Xavier Cathedral by Bishop Miles of Nashville, and 
Bishop Spaulding of Louisville. He immediately entered on 
the discharge of his duties. He soon gained the good will of 
all with whom he came in contact, and of all denominations. 
He was the most unassuming and approachable man that was 
ever known in Viccennes. He seemed to- be as innocent as a 
child and always had a pleasant word for any one he met. 
He was connected with 'the Diocese of Vincennes for 41 years, 
13 of which he spent as a missionary priest in a wild and 
sparsely settled country, and 28 as head of the diocese. He 
died very suddenly at St. Mary's Academy near Terre Haute, 
June 28, 1877, and his remains were entombed in the base- 
ment chapel of the cathedral. 


He was the pastor of the Presbyterian church of this place, 
who died December 30, 1827. This good and exemplary pas- 
tor was virtually the builder and organizer of the Presby- 
terian church and congregation in Vincennes. By his pure 
holy and exemplary life he endeared himself to all classes of 
people and his death was universally regretted. We extract 
from the Western Sun of January 12, 1828, from an obituary 
notice of this truly good and pious pastor : 

"In the death of this worthy and pious man society is 
bereaved of one of its most useful and amiable members. 
The general gloom spread over the country! the number 
larger than we have ever witnessed here on a similar occasion 

198 A History of Vincennes. 

who assembled to pay the deceased the last solemn tribute of 
their respect ; the tears of affection and friendship shed upon 
his grave are evidences strong and clear of the worth of our 
departed friend." 


He was the pastor of the Episcopal church here for many 
years. In addition to his pastoral duties he conducted a 
seminary for the education of young ladies. He was one of 
the most eloquent men who ever lived in Vincennes. On the 
occasion of Lafayette's visit to this country in 1825, he was 
selected by the citizens here to go to Louisville and deliver a 
welcome address on the occasion of his visit to that city. He 
went and delivered the address of welcome which was pro- 
nounced by Lafayette and the many who heard it, to have 
been the finest address delivered on such occasions, among 
the many which had been delivered in different parts of the 
country. He was elected to represent this district in the 
Senate of Indiana. After a long and brilliant career here, he 
determined to go to Texas and locate. He started with his 
family but died on the way and his family returned to this 


He was born in England in the village of Oscott. He re- 
ceived a fine education and was appointed a captain in the 
British army. During his military service the battle of 
Waterloo was fought and his regiment was in the thickest of 
the battle. He received a severe wound and was carried from 
the field and it was thought he could not recover. But his 
mother hastened to his side and nursed him through a sick- 
ness of many months. After his recovery, he determined to 
abandon a military career and become a minister of the gospel. 
He resigned his commission in the British army and went to 
the Seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris, to study for the minis- 
trv. He finished his ecclesiastical studies here. But before 

Distinguished Personnel. 199 

his ordination was found by Bishop Brute, then in France, 
seeking priests for his diocese. He agreed to accompany him 
and came here with him and was ordained priest by the 
bishop, March 12, 1837. He was among the most gifted and 
eloquent men who ever resided here. He immediately com- 
menced his career as a Catholic priest. He accompanied 
the bishop on his visitation throughout the diocese, 
preaching everywhere to large congragations. He was first 
stationed at Madison and by his exertions, built up St. 
Michael's church. He was afterwards appointed Professor 
of Belles Lettres in Notre Dame University and continued his 
connection with that university for several years, and left 
it in a flourishing condition. He was appointed pastor of 
the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul at Detroit, His 
brilliant career was unfortunately terminated by an accident 
when on his way to consecrate a church in the vicinity of 
Detroit, which resulted in his death, May 10, 1853. His re- 
mains were interred in the family lot of R. R, Elliott, a 
banker of Detroit, who erected a fine monument over his 
grave, with the coat of arms of his family inscribed upon it. 


He was born in Newark, New Jersey, and learned the 
printers trade. He came West and obtained employment on 
the Kentucky Gazette, published at Lexington, Kentucky, by 
the Bradfords. He remained with them several years. Aft- 
erwards he went to Nashville, Tennessee, and obtained em- 
ployment there. He there made the acquaintance of Andrew 
Jackson and contracted a friendship which continued during 
their lives. When the Indiana Territory was organized he 
determined to come to Vincennes, the capital of the terri- 
tory, and start a newspaper. He made all the necessary prep- 
arations to start his paper, surmounting many difficulties. He 
finally surmounted them all and issued the first number of 


A History of Vincenxes. 

his paper, July 4, 1804. This office was destroyed by fire in 
1806. But he immediately went to Kentucky and purchased 
another outfit, And on the 4th of July, 1807, he issued a 
number of his paper. This was the first paper published 
within the limits of Indiana, and the first paper published 
anywhere in the Northwest Territory save the "Liberty Hall" 
and "Cincinnati Gazette," published at Cincinnati, Ohio, a 
few months previous. This paper thus founded has with 
slight interruptions, a continued existance to the present time. 

Elihu Stout. 

It is now and has always been Democratic in politics. In 
1845, Mr. Stout was appointed postmaster at Yincennes, and 
severed his connection with the press. At the expiration of 
his term as postmaster, he was elected by the voters of Knox 
County, Eecorder of Deeds for two terms, although the 
county was strongly opposed to him in politics at the time. 
He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. He was 
also a very enthusiastic Free Mason and was the first Master 

Distinguished Personnel. 201 

of the Lodge here. After the organization of the Grand 
Lodge of Indiana, he was elected Grand Master of that lodge. 
He often requested during life to be buried by the Masonic 
fraternity. His death was very sudden and hastened by the 
troubles in the Democratic party in 1860, which he believed 
would result in the dissolution of the Union or a long and 
bloody war. He died in April, 1860, and according to his 
wishes was buried with Masonic orders in the city cemetery. 


He was born in Grenoble, France, September 11, 1786. He 
enlisted in the French army and became an officer in the 
Grand Army of the Empire under Bonaparte. He partici- 

John F. Bayard. 

pated in the various campaigns and battles in which the 
Grand Army took part. He fortunately passed through the 
ordeal unhurt. When the Emperor abdicated in 1815, he re- 
signed his commission in the army and received an honorable 
discharge. He then determined to leave France and come to 
the United States. He applied for and received permission 
from the authorities to emigrate'. He came to this countrv 

202 A History of Vincennes. 

and settled for brief periods in different places. He finally 
came to Vincennes about 1820, and permanently located. He 
married here, Mary Ann Boneau in 1823, and became the 
father of a large family, six daughters and three sons. The 
children all married. Susan married M. A. Pilard, Mary 
Louise married Prosper Eluere, Adelia married Marcelle D. 
Lacroix, Eleanor P. married Charles A. Weisert, Mary Eliza- 
beth married Henry V. Somes and Margaret Clotilda mar- 
ried Henry S. Cauthorn. The three sons all become promi- 
nent and influential bank men. Samuel was president of the 
largest bank in Evansville at the time of his death. John 
Francis was a prominent bank man here until his death and 
Joseph L. Bayard is now president of the First National 
Bank of Vincennes, Indiana. 

Mr. John F. Bayard was a successful business man and left 
a large estate. He was an exemplary and practical Catholic. 
He died February 13, 1853, and was buried in the Catholic 


Judge Moore, as he was familiarly called, was born in the 
City of Staunton, Virginia, in the year 1788. He came to 
Vincennes at a very early age in time to enlist in the army 
which Gen. Harrison raised for the Tippecanoe Campaign in 
1811, and went with that army and took part in that bloody 
battle. He afterwards returned to this place and enlisted in 
a company and performed valuable services in the Black 
Hawk war. After that war was over he commenced here as 
a builder and contractor of public and private buildings. He 
built the Knox County Court House, the Town Hall and St. 
James Episcopal church, and in fact, all the principal pub- 
lic and private buildings erected in the town for thirty years. 
He also during that time filled many places of trust and profit 
under the Borough Government, and was Trustee, Marshal and 
President of the Board of Trustees of the Borough. He was 

Distinguished Personnel. 


elected Judge of the Knox County Probate Court and f or many 
rears discharged the duties of that important position with 
fidelity and general satisfaction. He was a careful and pru- 
dent financier and on account of his peculiar fitness for the 
position, was appointed agent of the Vincennes Branch of the 
State Bank of Indiana, which responsible position he filled 
and held with marked ability until the charter of the bank 
expired. When the city government was organized in 1856, 
he was elected first Mayor of the city and was re-elected to 

John Moore. 

the same position. The city was organized soon after the 
state law was passed providing for the organization of 
cities. It was one of the first cities organized under that law 
and was without a code of ordinances for its government. The 
first City Council by resolution required the city attorney to 
prepare and report a code of ordinances for its government. 
The writer was at the time city attorney and was engaged for 
a period of two years in drafting and reporting such a code 
as the ordinances had to be drafted without any guide to 
resort to as no city in the state had at the time any code. In 

204 A History op Vincennes. 

the preparation of the code of ordinances, Judge Moore by 
his experience and acquaintance in dealing with such matters, 
rendered the writer important and invaluable services, The 
code of ordinances thus prepared was published by Harvey 
Mason & Co., comprising according to recollection over 200 
pages of printed matter. Before the expiration of his second 
term as Mayor, he was appointed by President Buchanan, 
postmaster at Vincermes, and during his four years term 
discharged his duties faithfully and satisfactorily to the citi- 
zens. At the end of his term as postmaster he retired from 
active business having by prudence, industry and economy ac- 
quired a fortune sufficient for all his wants. He was a model 
and upright citizen, a kind and affectionate father. He was 
a member of the Catholic church and a Democrat in politics. 
He died December 23, 1 864, and was buried in the Catholic 
cemetery on Christmas day. 


He was born in Brownsville, Pennsylvania. He came to 
Vincennes and permanently located. He was preceeded here 
by his brother, John, and later by his brother, William J. 
These three brothers formed the partnership of J. S. & W. J. 
Wise, which has the distinction of a continued existence of 
thirty -five years and was never settled until after the death 
of all the partners. After the death of William J. Wise, the 
last survivor of the firm, the partnership affairs were adjusted 
and the heirs of John and Samuel received their portion 
without any trouble. But William J. Wise never married and t 
made a will and after a long and expensive contest, the will 
was sustained and his interest distributed among his devisees. 
Mr. Samuel Wise possessed good judgment and his advice 
was always sought. He was very unassuming and was kind 
to all who approached him. He Avas a very ardent Democrat 
and took a deep interest in politics. He was a great admirer 


of John C. Calhoun and warmly espoused his views. He was 
not an office seeker, but he was appointed by President Polk, 
Receiver of Public Monies at this place, which was the only 
official position he ever held. He was not a member of any 
secret society or of any church. But his family affiliated with 
the Presbyterian church and he was always ready to furnish 
aid to that church. He died suddenly November 3, 1855. 


He was born in the State of Massachusetts. He came to 
Vincennes and located permanently in 1816. He engaged in 
the cabinet making and undertaking business which he con- 
tinued until his death. He was the principal undertaker in 
the place during his life. After his death the business was 
successfully carried on by his son, E. G. Gardner, who is still 
living at the advanced age of 82 years. He voluntarily re- 
tired from business and passed its good will to his son, Dexter 
Gardner, who continued it alone for many years and last 
year took his son, George Gardner, as partner, and they are 
still conducting the same business originally started in 1816 
by Andrew Gardner. The business is now conducted by Dex- 
ter Gardner & Son, who are the principal undertakers in the 
city. Andrew Gardner was a model citizen. He was fre- 
quently called to fill important offices in the Borough of Vin- 
cennes. He was not an office seeker and the positions he 
obtained were freely bestowed upon him. He was on one oc- 
casion the Democratic candidate for Treasurer of Knox 
County. The politics of the county was strongly Whig at 
the time, and that party fearing the personal popularity of 
Mr. Gardner, nominated against him, James Johnson, their 
strongest man. The race was exciting but Mr. Johnson was 
elected by a very small majority. Mr. Gardner was a faith- 
ful member of the Methodist church. He died in the spring 
of I860. 

206 A History of Vincennes. 


Mr. Smith was one of the oldest successful and highly re- 
spected business men who ever resided in Vincennes. He was 
of Scotch descent. He was horn in the City of Newark. New 
Jersey, September 14, 1790. His father lost his life in the 
Passaic River when he was only two years old. He was thus 
thrown upon his own resources, but he set out with an earn- 
est determination to make his way through the world. In 
1810 he came to Cincinnati, Ohio, and opened a tin shop on 
Fourth street. Two years later he returned on foot to his 
native city. In 1817 he again came West intending to locate 
in St. Louis. On his way he passed though Vincennes. After 
remaining in St. Louis a very short time he determined to 
return to Vincennes and permanently locate here. He 
opened a hardware store on the corner of Main and Second 
streets and afterwards removed to the large brick building 
which he erected on Main street, where he continued to carry 
on business until his death in conjunction with his two sons, 
John A. and Edward H. Smith. During seventeen years of 
his life, he engaged in trading and boating to New Orleans. 
He also engaged in land speculation in Indiana and Illinois, 
travelling on horseback over the Wabash Valley in both 
states, and became widely known in the Wabash Valley as 
far as Lafayette. His boating and trading operations to New 
Orleans were conducted on an extensive scale, some years 
sending as many as forty flatboats down the Mississppi River. 
He was strictly attentive to his own business affairs and was 
never tempted to engage in politics or any other outside 
matters. By his sagacity and prudence he amassed a large 
fortune which he left to his children. Two of his sons are 
still in business in this city and two others built up one of the 
largest hardware establishments in Terre Haute. Mr. Smith 
was not a member of any religious society, but was partial to 
the Presbyterian church and contributed largely to the sup- 

Distinguished Personnel. 207 

port, of that church. He was up to the time of his death very 
vigorous and active and was an early riser and every day until 
a few clays before his death, was one of the first to be seen 
on the streets of the city. Notwithstanding his extensive 
business transactions, he did so without friction or incurring 
the ill will of any one with whom he had dealings, and en- 
joyed the good will and friendship of all the citizens of the 
city. He was probably the best known of any of the citizens 
of Vincennes. He died on Tuesday, August 1, 1871, after 
a brief illness of only four days. As a testimony of his stand- 
ing and appreciation among his friends and neighbors, his 
remains were followed to the grave by an immense concourse 
of citizens. 


He was of Welch descent but was born in Vincennes in 
1786. He was raised in Vincennes and spoke French flu- 
ently. He was a farmer and stock raiser and was very suc- 
cessful and accumulated a large estate. His brother, Par- 
menas Beckes, was Sheriff of the county in 1813, and was 
killed in a duel with Dr. Edward Skull. Benjamin V. 
Beckes was 'appointed to fill out the balance of his term and 
was twice re-elected to the same office. He was brave to a 
fault and commanded troops in the Indian wars in this part 
of the country. He was captain of a company in the Black 
Hawk war. He also commanded a company at the battle of 
Tippecanoe. He was kind and generous to his friends. He 
never forgot a friend or forgave an enemy. He served in the 
State Legislature several terms. He was a Democrat in poli- 
tics and took a deep interest in all political matters. He was 
a member of the Catholic church at his death and was buried 
in the Catholic cemetery. 


He was born in Bardstown, Kentucky, July 12, 1826, of 
Irish parentage. He learned the printers trade and in 1837 

208 A History op Vincennes. 

was employed in the office of the Louisville Journal, then 
conducted by the celebrated George D. Prentice. He re- 
mained here until the fall of 1856, when he came here and 
purchased the Western Sun newspaper. That paper when 
he purchased it was entirely run down, and its publication 
suspended. Mr. Greene soon resurrected it and made it one 
of the most influential papers in the state. When he came 
here the parties were about equally divided in politics. But 
Mr. Greene took the lead and management of party affairs. 
He attended all conventions and public meetings of the party 
and planned all campaigns. He managed affairs so success- 
fully that the Democratic party soon had a majority of 1200 
in the county. He was a magnetic man and attracted to him 
all persons with whom he came in contact. He was appointed 
Registrar of the Land Office here and remained in office until 
the records were destroyed by fire in April, 1860. He was 
elected by the Legislature one of the directors of the Indiana 
State Prison at Jeffersonville, for a term of four years. In 
1809 he was elected Mayor of the City of Vincennes. He was 
a very social man and a welcome guest at all social functions. 
He was a member of the Catholic church and was buried in 
the Catholic cemetery. He died October 15, 1870. 


Mr. Watson is one of the oldest and most highly respected 
citizens of Vincennes. He was born in Vincennes on the 13th 
clay of April, 1809. His father, Robert G. Watson, was of 
Scotch descent and was a prominent merchant and fur trader 
of Vincennes. His mother, Genevieve Watson, was descended 
from one of the oldest French families, who came here as 
early as 1701. Mr. Watson received but limited educational 
advantages in his youth, but in after life by study and appli- 
cation, he acquired a fine business education which he uti- 
lized in his business affairs. In 1826 he went to St. Louis 

Distinguished Personnel. 209 

and learned the tailors trade. He soon returned to his native 
town to follow his trade, hut in 1832 he returned to St. Louis, 
but in 1832 returned to Vincennes and has resided here ever 
since. He worked at his trade in partnership with the late 
Samuel E. Dunn until 1849, when he was appointed by Presi- 
dent Taylor, postmaster at Vincennes. He continued in this 
office until 1853. He then was appointed Collector of Tolls 
of the Wabash Navigation Company at the lock and dam of 
the Wabash Eiver, at the grand rapids. He then served for 
a short time as the conductor of a passenger train on the 
Evansville and Crawfordsville Eailroad, now known as the 
Evansville and Terre Haute Eailroad. He was soon pro- 
moted and appointed agent of the railroad at Vincennes. He 
also at the same time carried on a lumber yard in partnership 
with the late Charles Dawes. In 1859 he was appointed pay- 
master and supply agent of the Ohio and Mississippi Eail- 
road, which he resigned in 1871, to take an active part in the 
hotel business in partnership with the late Isaac Mass and 
with him established the Union Depot Hotel which 
business he still carries on in partnership with his 
son, Edward Watson. Mr. Watson by an energetic 
and prudent business career, has accumulated a large 
fortune until he is now reputed as one of the 
wealthiest men in Vincennes. Hs is a member of the 
Eoman Catholic church and in politics is a Democrat. He 
was married November 6, 1832, to Lydia Fellows, a daughter 
of Captain Willis Fellows. To this union twelve children 
were born, four sons and two daughters are yet living. Mr. 
Watson at his advanced age still survives and continues to 
act as a director of the First National Bank of Vincennes, 
one of the largest banking institutions in the city. 


A History op Vincennes. 


He was born in Vincennes on April 12, 1804. He was the 
son of John Rice Jones, who was a native of Wales. . He was 
educated at Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky. 
He left Vincennes and first went to Missouri, but in 1827, he 
moved to Sissinewa Mound, Wisconsin. In 1829 he married 
Josephine G-regoire of St. Genevieve, Missouri. He served in 

John Rice Jones. 

the Black Hawk war on Gov. Dodge's staff. In 1835 he was 
elected delegate to Congress from Michigan, and re-elected in 
1837. In 1840 he was appointed Surveyor General at Du- 
buque. In 1848 he was elected to the United States Senate 
from Iowa, holding the position eleven years. In 1859 he was 
appointed Minister to Bogota. He died at Dubuque, Iowa, 
July 22, 1896, and was bnried in Mt. Olivet cemetery. 


He was born in Ireland, but he always claimed that he was 
born on an American ship on the ocean on his way to this 
country. But after his death his naturalization papers taken 
out in the Marine Court of Baltimore, were found by his 

Distinguished Personnel. 21 L 

administrator. His rich Irish brogue detected his ancestry. 
In the heated political contest of 1844, his vote was chal- 
lenged and he was called upon to produce his naturalization 
papers. This he refused to do claiming to be an American 
citizen. This challenge came near producing a riot which 
was only prevented by the challenge being withdrawn. He 
came to Vincennes very rich and engaged in merchandizing. 
But possessing a diamond mind and fine education, he soon 
drifted into politics. He was a fluent and versatile speaker. 
He was elected to many positions under the borough. He 
was also frequently elected a member of the Senate and 
House of the Indiana Legislature. He was also elected to 
Congress for two terms from this district. Being a ready 
speaker his services were in constant demand during the 
campaigns of 1840 and 1844, and he made a speech almost 
every day in some part of Indiana or Illinois. He was of a 
very excitable disposition which prevented him accomplish- 
ing the good his talents would otherwise have enabled him to 
do. Mr. Ewing before his death had gotten away with all his 
estate and in his last days was an object of charity. He 
never married and lived a lonely life. He died April 6, 1858, 
and was buried in the city cemetery in a lot by himself and 
thus sleeps his last sleep as solitary as he lived. 


He was born in Dubois County, Indiana, May 19, 1823. 
He studied law and commenced the practice at Mt. Pleasant, 
then the county seat of Martin County. He was elected from 
Martin County to the State Legislature and also to the Sen- 
ate of Indiana. He declined a re-election to the Senate. In 
1854 he was appointed Judge of the Judicial Circuit Court 
in which Knox County was situated and came here to reside. 
While still on the bench of the Circuit Court he was nomi- 
nated by the Democrats for Congress and was elected without 


opposition. He was re-elected a member of Congress by large 
popular majorities until his service in Congress was fourteen 
years. He was also elected in 1862 a member of the House 
of representatives in the Indiana Legislature. After his 
congressional career be was nominated in 1876 as the Demo- 
cratic candidate for Judge of the Supreme Court of Indiana 
and was elected. On the expiration of his first term he was 
re-elected and thus served on that exalted tribunal twelve 
years. He was a candidate for re-election in 1888 but went 
down with his party in the defeat of that year. This was the 
first and only defeat at an election before the people he ever 
sustained. All the official positions he occupied seemed to 
come to him unasked for. He was the most successful candi- 
date before the people the state has ever produced. After his 
defeat for Supreme Judge in 1888, he removed to Indiana- 
polis, as it presented a wider field for the practice of his pro- 
fession. He soon came into a large practice which was 
abruptly terminated by his death May 7, 1893. His remains 
were buried in Crown Hill cemeter} r at Indianapolis. 


He was a native of New London, Connecticut, where he 
was born October 24, 1796. He came to Vincennes and lo- 
cated for the practice of law in 1817. He rose rapidly at the 
bar and in public estimation. For more than a quarter of a 
century he was the central figure in all enterprises and pro- 
jects calculated to advance Vincennes. He was its first his- 
torian and being a fine orator he held a high place in the 
councils of his party and was generally alluded to as the 
favorite son of Knox County. He was Prosecuting Attorney 
and Judge of the Knox Circuit Court, Eeceiver of Public 
Monies for this district, United States Commissioner to ad 
just land titles in this district and a member of Congress for 
two terms. A short time before his death he removed toj 

Distinguished Personnel. 


Evansville to look after the landed interests of a In-other who 
resided in Connecticut. But he always cherished a love and 
affection for Yincennes and wished to be buried here. He 

married Sarah Swing, a daughter of Nathaniel Ewing. He 
died October 7, 1873, at Evansville, Indiana, and accord- 
ing to his request his remains were brought here and buried 
in the city cemetery. 


He was born in Lawrence County, Indiana, July 2, 18.28. 
He studied law and commenced the practice at Bedford, In- 
diana, in 1853. In 1SR7 he removed to Yincennes and in 
partnership with Newton F. Malott commenced the practice 
here. This firm soon secured a large and profitable business. In 
1870 Mr. Malott was elected Judge of the Knox Circuit 
Court. The business of the late firm was successfully con- 
tinued by Mr. Cobb until 1876, when he was elected to Con- 
gress from this district. He was re-elected to Congress by 

214 A History op Vincennes. 

successive elections for ten consecutive years. Before he came 
here to reside he had been elected to the State Senate of In- 
diana and was a prominent and influential member of that 
body. After he came here he was elected a member of the 
City Council of Vincennes. He was also the Democratic can- 
didate for presidential elector in 1868 and made a thorough 
canvass of the district. As a member of Congress he was 
chairman of the Committee on Public Lands and through his 
exertions., "Harrison Park" was donated by Congress to Vin- 
cennes. Mr. Cobb died in 1893 and was buried in the city 

The list of the number of distinguished men who have been 
connected with Vincennes in the past could be extended, but 
time and space forbid. 

Prominent Citizens Subsequent to 1800. 215 



A partial list of prominent citizens of. Yincennes, subse- 
quent to the } r ear 1800. 


Cyrus M. Allen, Joseph G. Bowman, William W. Carr, Will- 
iam A. Jones, F. W. Yiehe, John M. Boyle, B. N. Carnan, 
Bobert F. McConahe}^ John Baker, Xewton F. Malott, J. 
C. Denny, John M. Clark, Jonathan Keith, C. B. Kessinger, 
Willoughby & House, W. H. & E. H. DeWolf, W. H. Penning- 
ton, L. A. Meyer, W. C. Johnson, Samuel W. Williams, Cal- 
verley & Judah, Johnson & Hill, B. F. Davis, W. Harrow, Jo- 
seph Bandolph, A. L. Harbinson, A. W. McClure, Cullop & 
Shaw, A. T. Cobb, Emison & Moffet, M. J. Niblack, W. S. 
Hoover, Coulter & Beckes, Haughton & Emison, B. L. Buck- 
les, G. G. Beily, Orestes Philipps, H. S. Cauthom, Jr., B. M. 
Thomas, James S. Pritchett, John T. Goodman, J. P. L. 
Weems, Harry Lewis, C. E. Dailey, Henry Fauntleroy, Cyr 
Poullet, Bobert G. Cauthom, John Wilhelm, Charles G. 


Dr. Offut, Daniel Stahl, Joseph Browne, John J. Baty, H. 
M. Smith, L. M. Beckes, H. W. Held, Patrick Caney, S. C. 
Beard, M. G. Moore, Dr. Anderson, Xorman E. Beckes, Jo- 
seph Somes, T. H. Maxedon, Georgge Knapp, J. B. Mante, 
W. W. Hitt, J. S. Sawyer, O'Connell Fairhurst, M. M. Mc- 
Dowell, W. H. Davenport, Dr. Yon Knappe, B. B. Jessup, Dr. 
Troost, Dr. McCoy, Dr. Hall, Dr. Smadell, Dr. Branstop, 
Hiram Decker, Dr. Harris, J. C. Bever, W. M. Hindman, W. 
B. Bidgway, Dr. Stewart, J. P. Bamsey, Solomon Bathbone. 


Frederick Graeter, Elihu Stout, Samuel Hill, Martin Bob- 

(15 1 

216 A History of Vincennes. 

inson, John B. Martin, David McHenry, Milton L. Edson, 
Zacliariah Pulliem, James S. Mayes, Thomas Reilly, Joseph 
Woodman, George W. McCoy, E. A. Baecher, Edward Wei- 
sert, Joseph Fowee, John Collins. 


Benjamin F. Wheeler, Henry W. Alexander, H. J. Foulks, 
W. L. Tewalt, Haines & Simonson, John Stork, J. S. Spiker. 


Thomas Alexander, Henry M. Shaw, Michael E. Shawe, 
John F. Smith, Eli B. Smith, Aaron Woods, Elijah Whitten, 
Thomas J. Clark, Aegedins Merz, P. B. O'Connor, Thomas 
McLaughlin, W. H. Carter, B. B. Killykelly. 


Peter Jones, Mark Barnett, Christian G-raeter, John C. 
Clark, Royal H. Gould, William Busse, George Weisenberger, 
Edward Lindner, Edward Watson, Charles W. Padgett, Par- 
menas Beckes, Patrick Doran, Hyacinthe Lasselle, Thomas J. 
Beeler, John Kuhn. 


John D. Hay, William Meuire, Blum, Bernard & Co., 
George Davis, Tomlinson & Rose, John K. Kuntz, H. D. 
Wheeler, Burtch & Heberd, J. S. & W. J. Wise, Smith & Car- 
son, Rose & Harper, Bedford, Shelmiere & Co., Samuel Bru- 
nei', David S. Bonner, Thorn & Tracy, G. Cruikshank & Co., 
Robert Smith & Co., A. W. Morris, Luck & Landel, Adam 
Gimbel, M. D. Lacroix, Charles Graeter, John Caldwell, Will- 
iam Hays, J. W. Maddox, Theodore Huslage, Isaac Joseph, 
John B. & Peter E. LaPlante, Charles A. Weisert, Gerhard 
Reiter, L. B. Smith, James T. Cox, Curry & Coons, E. G. 
Gardner, Frank Horsting, Henry Soete, N\ Smith & Sons, Wil- 
kins & Robinson, Page & Orr, Thing & Potter, W. J. Heberd 
& Sons, H. P. Brokaw, J. & H. Ostendorf, B. Kuhn & Co., 

Prominent Citizens Subsequent to 1800. 217 

J. C. Cohen, W. E. Browne, & Co., H. T. Eoseman, George 
Kerkhoff & Co., Harvey Mason & Co., Emison & Green, John 
A. Louis, William Huey, J. H. Shepard & Co., E. B. Banis- 
dell, Edward Bierhaus & Sons, Bierhaus Bros., Moore & Har- 
ris, F. W. Tweitmeyer, Hall Bros., John Burke, J. W. Cassell, 
H. J. Hellert, F. W. Ritterskamp, John Hoffman, Christian 
Hoffman, Bernard & Beckes, J. & T. Hayes, B. Emirihm, 
G. Weinstein & Co., L. A. Wise & Co., H. Willoughby & Son, 
S. Blum & Co., Perry Tindolph, Fred Harsh, Charles S. Mil- 
ler, Isaac Lazurus, H. J. Watjen, W. A. Markee, J. M. 
Duesterberg, M. Bauer, V. Schoenfield, William Davidson, J. 
Bernstein, J. H. Dunn, J. A. Breivogel, Joseph Ohnemus, H. 
F. Thuis, Sebastian Bisch & Sons, Risch & Heller, Henry 
Badollet, 0. C. Busse, W. W. Cassell, G. R. Alsop, William 
Baker, John Turney, George W. Donaldson, Robinson & Don- 
aldson, W. J. Freeman, M. O'Donnell, John Loten, Salyards 
& Burns, John Hartigan, R. M. Glass, J. & S. Emison, T. H. 
Adams, R. E. Purcell, W. W. Bailey & Bros., A. V. Crotts, 
W. J. Nicholson, A. Kapps, George Klein, C. H. Blase, C. J. 
Lipe, A. Philipson, Racey & Palfrey, Bratton & Racey, L. 
Moves, C. F. Schultz, C. Lane, J. S. Kitchell, Burnet & East- 
ham, William H. Glover & Co., James A. Plummer, Speigle 
& Gardner, P. R. McCarthy, John Watson, S. R. Jackman, 
Gimbel Haughten & Bond, Georgge Fendrich, Joseph Smith, 
E. Younghans, John Schwartz, Frank A. Hines, M. Tyler 
Son & Co., Hiram A. Foulks, Miller & Shepard, H. M. Hack- 
man, Geo. Harris, P. Eluere & Sons, J. B. Ramsdell, Frank 
Krack, George Harris, P. Eluere & Sons, J. F. Sechler & Co., 
A. Marone, John Kuhn, H. M. Townsley, D. J. Philips, Nor- 
man, E. Beckes, J. W. Emison & Co., F. J. Trengaw, A. J. 
Taylor, -John Murphy, Thomas Kilfoil, Thomas Borrowman, 
E. L. Ryder, F. M. Mail, W. Tromley, Merchant Bros., Peter 
Marchino, F. A. Yocum, Planke Bros., E. E. Shores, J. C. 
Haartze, Moses Wile, Auton Lahr, John C. Holland, Charles 


Dawes., Henry Schaffer, M. Johnson & Co., W. H. Weed, Al- 
bert M. & Edward Shepard, Isaac jST. Eastham, A. L. Corno- 
yer, W. B. Eobinson, A. M. Yelton, James Ewing, Patrick 
Moore, Morgan Jones, 0. McCone, S. & J. Lyons, Lyttleton 
Timms, Samuel Miller, Ben Fritch, Eugene Hack, Anton 
Simon, Frank Liberman, 0. B. Wietzell, William William- 
son, E. J. McKenney, Will L. Tewalt, V. Geese, John B. 
Brouillette, W. W. Berry, John W.Carnan, Emanuel Meisen- 
helter, E. Y. Caddington, Isaac Lazarus, William Nugent, 
John Vickery, Jacob Metzger, F. M. Fay, Alexander Von 
Smith, Martin Agnew, James W. Greenhow, John Myers, 
Herman Brokhage, George W. Eathbone, Samuel Bayard, 
Major W. Gould, Nelson Sparrow. 

Conclusion. 219 



It must be admitted that Vincennes has a past history that 
is both venerable and honorable and that places her in the 
front rank among the cities of the state. It is true that for 
years she was held in abeyance by a sort of Rip Van Winkle 
sleep that paralyzed her energies and prevented her material 
progress. But this condition of affairs on account of the in- 
fusion of new blood consequent upon the arrival of active 
and enterprising citizens has been arrested and the ancient 
city aroused from her long lethargy, has entered upon a splen- 
did career of progress. The old order of things has been done 
away and a new and active era has been evolved from this 
change of population. The hard working and prudent Ger- 
man, the energetic and proliiic Irishman and many other 
races from Europe have come and infused new life in the mass 
of our population. The influence is producing good results 
in the many evidences of prosperity and accomplished results. 
The money making Yankee and the discerning Jew can be 
seen on our streets. In fact everything today is indicative of 
a glorious future for the City of Vincennes. 

But this bright prospect although long delayed might have 
been expected from the opinions of the place and its natural 
advantages expressed by the missionary fathers who first vis- 
ited it before the advent of civilized men and when it was in 
the midst of a vast wilderness. These men were far seeing 
and almost with prophetic vision foretold the future of vari- 
ous places they visited in their wanderings. In no instance 
have their prophetic utterances failed of fruition unless it 
shall be in the solitary instance of Vincennes. They declared 
that the site of this place when they first beheld it was des- 

220 A History of Vincennes. 

tined on account of its surroundings to become in course of 
time the seat of a great city, possessing an extensive commerce, 
great wealth and a dense population. They made the same 
prophetic utterances with reference to Pittsburg, Cincinnati, 
Louisville, Detroit, Chicago, St. Paul, St. Louis, San Fran- 
cisco and many other cities, which have since, all verified 
their predictions. And why should their opinions with regard 
to Vincennes not be realized ? Its splendid location and im- 
mediate surroundings indicate that the city will in the future 
go forward with gigantic strides. There is nothing in nature 
or political conditions in the way of its accomplishment. If 
the citizens will all take heart and put their shoulder to the 
wheel of progress, it will roll forward with increasing speed 
year by year. Everything at present indicates that we are on 
the eve of the realization of golden dreams and that the dull 
and monotonous past will be swallowed up and obliterated 
from memory in the brilliant achievement of the opening 
future. That this will be an accomplished fact we have no 
more doubt than we have when we see the sun sink behind the 
western horizon at nightfall, that it will rise again on the 
morrow, with undimmed brilliancy. All that is necessary is 
for all the citizens to work together in harmony and with 
united action for its accomplishment and it will be accom- 

No. )IU) Sect. ^ Shelf_ 

Lincoln National Life Foundation 
Collateral Lincoln Library 

TJ»3 oS3